‘We didn’t know that we’d been taken away,’ says child of stolen generations

When five-year-old Donna hopped on a train, she thought it was just going to be a joyride. The reality was much worse: she, along with many other Aboriginal children, had been taken away from her mother and sent to live with a family in Newcastle in New South Wales.

“We were excited to go for a train ride; it was our first train ride. We didn’t know that we’d been taken away. I’ll never know the anguish that [my mother] had that night, realising she had to surrender her seven children the next day.

“The welfare lady said, ‘This is your new mummy and daddy. You go with them, they give you something to eat,’” recalls Donna.

“I was always a fish out of water, I lived racism and prejudice every day of my life. Looking back I wonder how I made it through, but for the love of my parents. They were Christians and gave me my first Bible. So I’ve known Jesus since I was five.”

Fifty-seven years later, Donna returned to that train station where she first boarded the train to reflect on God’s grace as part of the Bible Society’s bicentenary celebrations.

“We want to ask people to take a look at the Good Book itself, even if the people carrying it have done you wrong.” – Greg Clarke

“I would kneel at my bed and sob and sob and ask the Lord for the answers, and he’d give the answers in his word,” says Aunty Donna.

“My healing has come through the power of God’s word and allowing him to heal me.”

CEO of Bible Society Australia Greg Clarke acknowledges that “not everyone has had a good experience at the hands of people who’ve come to them carrying a Bible. We want to reverse that. We want to be here for good. We want to ask people to take a look at the Good Book itself, even if the people carrying it have done you wrong.

“We’ve seen the difference it makes in peoples lives. We’ve seen individuals flourish, we’ve seen families changes, communities transformed. All because of taking seriously the message of the scriptures. There’s no telling what God will do when his word is put into people’s hands.”