Black Swan

A Koorie woman's life

Eileen Harrison and Carolyn Landon
AUD $29.99

A frank and powerful memoir of the life of an Aboriginal woman, from her early years on the Lake Tyers mission to discovery of her talent as a painter.

'It's bad luck to catch a black swan.'

Eileen Harrison grew up at the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Mission Station in the 1950s as one of eleven children in a tight-knit and loving family. When the new assimilation policy comes in, they are wrenched from the Mission and sent off to Ararat in the hope that they will become part of that community. Unable to build a stable life in the face of isolation and discrimination, the family is torn apart. Eileen must become the protector and the peacemaker.

As a child, Eileen set free a black swan caught in a hessian bag. Now the story of the magical black swan from her childhood provides an uncanny map for her life as she struggles to find her path. After many years she discovers her talent as a painter and builds a new life for herself.

Powerfully told in Eileen's words, her experiences speak eloquently of what has happened to Aboriginal people over the last half-century.

'Both heart-wrenching and hopeful, Eileen Harrison's story demonstrates that while policies of assimilation may have taken families from country and community, they could never take the memories that kept them connected.' - Dr Anita Heiss, award-winning author and activist

Author bio:

Eileen Harrison is a Kurnai woman and an artist. Carolyn Landon is an oral historian and author of the bestselling Jackson's Track.

Category: Biography & Autobiography
ISBN: 9781742375533
Awards: Short-listed, Western Australia Premier's Book Awards, 2012
Table Of Contents: Prologue: The White Dress

Part I: Innocence



Black Swan

Bung Yarnda

Part II: Change Coming

Whitefella Lessons

Miss Binny


Leaving Lake Tyers


Part III: Experience

Layers of Events


Nothin' but a Black Gin



Part IV: Gathering the Pieces

That Piece of Paper

They've Taken my Babies!

Cedric and Maria

What's the Use?

Part V: Awakening

Out of the Shadows


Koorie Culture Day

Epilogue: Forty-thousand Year Old Soul
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: July 2011
Page Extent: 256
Format: Paperback - C format
Subject: Memoirs

homepage promo2-FABER