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Lowitja O'Donoghue - The Stolen Generation
Year of production - 1994
Duration - 1min 15sec
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Lowitja O’Donoghue:The Stolen Generation is an excerpt from the program Lowitja O’Donoghue (26 mins), an episode of Australian Biography Series 3 (7×26 mins), produced in 1994.
Lowitja O’Donoghue: Lois O’Donoghue was born in 1932 in a remote Aboriginal community. She never knew her white father and, at the age of two, was taken away from her mother, who she was not to see for 33 years. After a long struggle to win admission to a training hospital, Lois became the first black nurse in South Australia. In 1976, she was the first Aboriginal woman to be awarded an Order of Australia. In 1983 she was honoured with a CBE and in 1984 she was made Australian of the Year. In 1990 she became the founding chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. Since this Australian Biography interview, she has changed her name to Lowitja O’Donoghue.
Australian Biography Series 3: The Australian Biography series profiles some of the most extraordinary Australians of our time. Many have had a major impact on the nation’s cultural, political and social life. All are remarkable and inspiring people who have reached a stage in their lives where they can look back and reflect. Through revealing in-depth interviews, they share their stories – of beginnings and challenges, landmarks and turning points. In so doing, they provide us with an invaluable archival record and a unique perspective on the roads we, as a country, have travelled.
Australian Biography Series 3 is a Film Australia National Interest Program.
Lowitja O’Donoghue was one of many Indigenous children separated from their families. The first removals took place during the early period of European settlement. Indigenous children were separated from their families for use as cheap labour on farms and inland stations, and as domestics.
In 1869, the first Aborigines Protection Act was passed in Victoria, with other Australian colonies following. This was the first formal government policy authorising the separations. The laws sought to protect Indigenous people from the effects of colonisation and settlement, and did so through segregation (by creating reserves and relocating Indigenous communities) and education of the young.
'Protectors’ were appointed and given significant control over the lives of Indigenous people. This was especially the case with their children, who were placed under the protector’s legal guardianship. This sweeping change of guardianship took place without consultation with Indigenous people.
By the early 1900s, although the full-descent Indigenous population was in decline, the mixed-descent population was increasing. Policies soon focused more on merging (assimilating) this mixed-descent population into the non-Indigenous community. Indigenous young people were sent to schools that would prepare them for absorption into non-Indigenous society as adults.
In the 1940s, a uniform set of child welfare laws was introduced and applied to Indigenous and non-Indigenous children alike. Children could only be removed if they were found to be ‘neglected’, ‘destitute’ or ‘uncontrollable’. Despite their equal application, the laws did little to reduce the number of Indigenous children removed.
From the 1970s, governments gradually moved away from promoting assimilation and towards policies of self-determination and participation.
In 1997, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission conducted a formal independent inquiry—the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families.
Digital resources using the clip - Lowitja O'Donoghue - The Stolen Generation
Clips on Screen Australia’s Digital Learning site have been used to build multiple learning resources. This list shows all resources using the clip ‘Lowitja O'Donoghue - The Stolen Generation’. Follow the links below to see curriculum-specific learning resources built around this clip.
Lowitja O'Donoghue - The Stolen Generation
Lois O’Donoghue was born in 1932 in a remote Aboriginal community. She never knew her white father and, at the age of two, was taken away from her mother, who she was not to see for 33 years.National / National Year 7 & 8 / National Year 7 & 8 Indigenous Studies / National Year 7 & 8 Indigenous Studies Political & civil rights
NSW / NSW Stage 6 HSC / NSW Stage 6 HSC English / NSW Stage 6 HSC English Belonging
National / National Year 9 & 10 / National Year 9 & 10 Australian History / National Year 9 & 10 Australian History Indigenous Studies