Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Life Story Kept in Dark; She Has No Idea Why Convent Stole Childhood

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Life Story Kept in Dark; She Has No Idea Why Convent Stole Childhood

Article excerpt

Byline: Gail Forrer

DAWN Daylight doesn't really know the dates or the reasons why she was working as a domestic maid at Brisbane's All Hallows' convent more than 55 years ago.

Although mountains of archives can reveal the horrific details behind what happened to the Stolen Generation, 71-year-old Dawn can find little that tells her own story.

Perhaps this underlines the importance of the launch of the SBS On Demand inaugural Short Film Festival in early September.

Lost Daylight, filmed in Brisbane, follows local Aboriginal woman Dawn Daylight on her search for answers. Dawn was taken at a young age and placed as a domestic servant at All Hallows' School, within the Sisters of Mercy convent.

Dawn has so many questions: Why was she taken? Why was she at All Hallows'? And what has happened to her lost wages?

This film is particularly timely, given the recent $190million settlement between the Queensland State Government and the stolen wages class action group.

In her late 30s Dawn went on to study a BA at Griffith University and around the same time began her search through government archives to find her own story.

Records revealed that her father and mother were part of the Stolen Generation and it was stated that "neglect" was among the reasons for their selection.

However, there was no such information about Dawn.

It's because of this lack of information that Dawn doesn't see herself as part of the Stolen Generation, but uses the word "removed" to describe her experience of being taken from her Ipswich family and put to work at the Brisbane city convent.

"Really, it was child labour," she said.

Dawn has located ledgers at All Hallows' which record her receiving a wage, along with subtractions for food, clothing etc. It also notes she travelled daily between the outskirts of Ipswich (Churchill) to the convent in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley. …

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