'These stories form part of our collective history, the way we speak of and live culture still today, and the importance of passing on such stories to younger generations.' — Dr. Anita Heiss, Ed.
Growing up Wiradjuri is a collection of personal stories by Wiradjuri Elders. The writers are Uncles and Aunties who came of age in New South Wales in the 1950s and 1960s.
In a strong collective voice, they share the difficulties of growing up under the rule of the welfare board. Some describe their experiences of evading capture by the welfare mob, or of being stolen and forced into state care away from their families. Some describe experiencing racism in school, the trials of poverty and family separation.
Alongside the difficulties of marginal life, backbreaking labour and family separation, they also detail their fond memories of their own Elders, Aunts and Uncles who cared for them and taught them culture. Contributors describe happy memories of family and community life on country, working the land, sitting around campfires, hunting, fishing, and playing games in the bush with their cousins, brothers and sisters. They talk about the values that were imparted to them by staunch parents and grandparents, about what it means to come from a family where everyone takes care of each other during hard times, and the work they have done to build stronger communities. Every contributor has important advice to share with the next generation.