Aunty Audrey Napanangka Martin and Generations of Child Removal in Australia

20th Mar 2018

In the early days of Australia's federation, between the late 1800's and 1970, thousands of aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their families as a result of various government assimilation policies that had hopes of 'breeding out' Aboriginal society.

The generations of children removed became known as the 'Stolen Generations'.

Auntie Audrey Napanangka Martin is an old Warlpiri woman from the remote Aboriginal community of Yuendumu - 300kms north-west of Alice Springs. She lived through the era of the Stolen Generation and like many Aboriginal mothers, pained for years after her own son was taken. When she next saw him, he was an unrecognisable young man with a family of his own, disconnected from the family and culture he was taken from.

Today, Australia's rate of Aboriginal child removal has been labeled a "national disaster", by Australia's first and only Aboriginal children's commissioner Andrew Jackomos. Today's figures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in out-of-home care had risen to an estimated 17,664 children… and this figure has almost doubled from 9,070 - a decade ago.

Years after Aunty Audrey struggled with losing her own baby son, both Audrey's grand children were also taken… unsure what to do…Aunty Audrey and her husband Santo began the battle to get the grandchildren back…

She sat down with CAAMA's Teghan Hughes and shared her painful story… 

She tells her story in her own language of Warlpiri (click below) before sharing it in English…

Aunty Audrey now shares her story in English….(Click below)

Auntie Audrey Napanangka Martin's story can be seen in the documentary film 'After the Apology'..

By Teghan Hughes