Daphne Coward


I am Daphne Coward.  The first part of our life was on the Common at Muswellbrook Creek. I was on the property out there and we walked from there into school every day.

I can’t remember that day, but it was 1963, thirteen of us was taken off Mum and Dad, into Muswellbrook courthouse. From there to the train station, from the train station to Central Station, and then they split us up. None of us knew what was going on. I stayed in the Girls’ Home at Eastwood. I went out for foster care for holidays, or for work, but then back into the Home. I missed all my sisters and brothers. I didn’t know what to do, I’d just go to work and god knows what.

We played softball in a paddock across from the Home and one day I hit the ball down the paddock. Then I thought, “What a good place to go to myself!”, because I wanted to get home.  So there was me and a couple of girls got there and done it. We done it a couple of times to them. We got as far as Parramatta, but we had the uniform on. If I knew the right way I would have been right.

When I turned 18, Mum and Dad bought me home, back where I belong. I missed the mountains.  If I had my way, I would live out on Country because I love Country.  I loved being at the Common, because you can walk up in the bush, where you can be relieved, you know. We know our boundary out there, we knew we couldn’t get into trouble. We never caused trouble, not even for the coppers or anyone because we knew what we would get off our parents.

“Thirteen of us were taken off Mum and Dad.”