Through these early conflicts, Pilkington explores the violence on the frontier so that we understand the motivations and contexts of the characters she will introduce us to.Indigenous people have always understood interconnectedness. You had to work together in order to survive in a hunter/gatherer society.
(2003), of her premature birth, under the tree of the book’s title on Balfour Downs Station, a pastoral lease and cattle station located about 132 kilometres north-east of Newman in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
She was so small when she was born that she could fit in a shoebox and it was believed that she would not survive.
Pilkington shows that this is a people who had long adapted to everything around them to survive and would continue to show that same resilience in the face of huge changes.
She shows a society in which there is evolution and adaptation as traditional people sought to keep their values and adapt to living between two cultures.
So she starts her story with the first encounters between Aboriginal people in Western Australia and sealers and whalers, as seen through the eyes of a warrior, Kundilla.
He recounts the fate of the Nyungar people as colonial settlements are established on the west coast of Australia, and through these encounters we see the creeping but profound influence of European law, as it becomes the only law.For Molly, Doris’s mother, this was not the first time she had been to Moore River, and that first visit – and Molly’s subsequent journey home with her younger cousins Gracie and Daisy – will become the heart of is a book about connection to country and family.The heart of the story is the extraordinary journey Molly, Gracie and Daisy take as they escape Moore River Settlement and make the long walk home across hundreds of kilometres of desert back to their families.Pilkington describes the long journey the girls take to the Moore River Settlement – by boat and car – and what is striking is how the white people they come into contact with seem to express a benevolence and kindness towards the girls.For them, such forced separations are both necessary and inevitable even if the situation is also tragic and pitiable.You understood the environment and how it could provide for your basic needs – food, tools, clothing, entertainment, medicine.You also had to understand your need for each other and to work together. And in this world of interdependence and reciprocity, you can’t think of the present without thinking of the past and the future. The story of how the Nyungar fared against the early colonists explains what is at stake for other Aboriginal people as Europeans expand their hold over the country.And it is this background that is necessary to explain how a once nomadic society is drawn to the safety of government outposts for protection.As was the case around the country, many Aboriginal people settled on missions and reserves to escape frontier violence.As her birth perhaps foretold, Doris’s life was not going to be easy.At the age of four she was taken, along with her mother and two-year-old sister, Annabelle, from Jigalong to Moore River Native Settlement.