In class we have been identifying our own individual identity, our Australian identity and now we are investigating people who lost their identity. “The Diary of Mary Talence” will be read and discussed with the students over the next few weeks.
Set in Sydney, 1937, this is the fictional diary of a young aboriginal girl, a member of the Stolen Generation.
She is given the diary by the Sister in charge of Bomaderry Aboriginal Children’s Home and through its pages she describes her life – from her arrival there, aged five, through her struggle to understand why she was taken from her real mother, to her adoption at ten years of age by a white Catholic family in St.Ives.
Mary Talence, birth name Amy Charles, is increasingly confused – and then ashamed – as she is taught that white skinned is good, black skinned is bad. She longs to understand why this is so but finds that logical questions – almost any questions – provoke anger and accusations of ingratitude from her white family. Her music – her beautiful voice and her ability to make up songs – is her greatest source of comfort.