Ryan Castine, Grade 6, Naracoorte Primary School
I got up, had my breakfast and I went outside with my older twin brother and sister, John and Nell. We were mucking around like always. Suddenly, I was smashing on the window of the car. A man yelled, “Quiet!” and he slapped me. I stopped.
We finally stopped and the man grumbled, “Get out or I will smack you again”. I trembled and whispered, “Okay sir.” I got out the car and saw a big brick building. There were Aboriginal boys doing farm work, men yelling at them. They dragged me inside and told me to sit on a squeaky, wooden chair. Next thing a fierce women came out. Her name was Katherine. She asked me what my name was. I stuttered “J-J-Jundamara.”
The boys had been telling me how this place is torture and they were right. The guardians are teaching us how to write and read in English as well as doing farm work. My hands are blistered and cracked. The real challenge for me is making friends. You are only allowed to speak in English otherwise you get chained up.
I have learnt a lot now. I’ve even made some friends - their names are Sam, Mitchell and Angus. We are lucky not to have been caught for speaking in our own language. Every night I think about my family and whisper my real name, so I don’t forget where I came from.
Katherine announced, “You will be adopted to a family in a few months when you are twelve”. That freaked me out. I whispered into Sam’s ear. Katherine yelled, “That’s not how a young man respects his elders!”
I shouted out in my own language, “I am an Aboriginal boy, not one of you!”
She grabbed me by the ear and took me to a dark, smelly room where she chained my neck, wrists and ankles.
Eventually, I saw a big flash of light. Sure enough, it was Katherine. She took off the chains, which left me with red marks over my skin.
I figured out a plan. I will get away and run to the post office. I can write a letter to Mum and Dad.
I finally found the Post Office and then I had to hide. I woke up to the sound of beautiful birds. Then I went back to the same Post Office and received a letter from my parents, saying “meet us at the town welcome sign Wudjari”.
I went straight to the Wudjari sign. The beautiful sunset calmed me down. In the distance, I heard, “Is that you Jundamara?”
I yelled with excitement, “Yes, yes it’s me!” I asked after John and Nell as I met my parents again.
1920 -19th of September
I am now 18. We searched for John and Nell over the years, finally finding they had been living in Adelaide. We didn’t have to worry about the government taking us away anymore. We are now officially adults.