“The Wailing- a National Black oral History”

The writer, Stuart Rintoul interviews many Aboriginal people for his book “The Wailing- a National Black oral History”. He recorded Amos Donovan at Wauhope Bunyah Lands Council. “I was eight when I started school. We lived at Greenhills near Kempsey. There were a lot of tin humpies. Grandfather had a 99 year lease on a block down the bottom of what they called the “Mission”. But it was never a mission at Greenhills, there was just old people there. Grandfather used to cut sleepers and girders in the bush and Dad used to go out. He had an old truck and he used to cart sleepers… Grandfather Steve Donovan, he educated himself. He used to go to night school and learn about the law….My great-grandfather on Dad’s side could speak the lingo. He used to drive a bullock team out at Rollands Plains Mission. Paddy Donoghue was his name… I asked him one time to teach me how to speak the lingo. He said our tongues were too thick and we had too much European ways in us and it was a very hard language to speak…I suppose it would have been the Biripai language… They’d call you ’nigger’ on the street sometimes and they wouldn’t let us swim in the pool, not unless you went to school and it was Wednesday sports day. We didn’t worry, us kids. We thought that running water was cleaner. We used to swim the river, get a couple of cobs of corn and come back the other side and cook them up… My uncles and aunty’s children (were taken away). They were sent away just down the other side of Grafton. I think there were five of them…But when the Welfare came to my grandfather’s place, he used to hunt them. “this is my property: you step on it, I’ll shoot you.”..”The police never had any authority to come on the land..” p.224 “the Wailing” S Rintoul