Aunty Margaret Matthews


I was born in 1951 in Singleton, I was reared up on Redenberry Hill. I lived in half a tank with my father, and my mother every now and then. We used to have good old times there, you know with just my brother, sisters and cousins. My mother was an alcoholic. She couldn’t look after us, my father tried to look after us and then he would get sent to jail every so often, but you know what the money was like in them days.

Then our Nanna took us to live with her, and one day all I remember, there was a car that come up to her house and Nan walked up to them. We had to walk up with her and she said, “There’s some people who want to take you away for a holiday”.  I didn’t want to go in the car. We went to the railway station and never come back. 

I became a ward of the State, the Government took us, owned us. I went to Bidura in Glebe. I ran away a lot because I wanted to go back home because they were ill-treating me and I got locked up all of the time, in a dark room.  I never had any privileges like the others.
I think the reason why we were ill-treated is because we were Aboriginal. I’ve always said it before and I will say it again, I didn’t know that I was Aboriginal.  I just thought I was just a normal person.

Well, when I turned eighteen, I got out of Parramatta, I went home to my Grandmother and my Mother. I never got on really good with my oldest sister, I didn’t even know I had two extra sisters until I met them.  So, I packed up and flew the coop back to Sydney and that’s when I met John, we are still together today.

“The government took us, Owned us.”