"The Stolen Children"

Joy Murphy Talks

Second Generation of the Holocaust and Child Survivor's held their first joint meeting on Sunday, March 2nd at the Holocaust Centre. The meeting attended by about 50 people, was addressed by a youthful, gently spoken, fifty six year old Aboriginal woman, Joy Murphy, whose own mother was one the many Aboriginal children taken forcibly from their natural parents and who became known as "The Stolen Children."

Joy's talk was engrossing and all too familiar for some as she told of her own mother's last memory of her own mother when she was just three years old. Left with the words "Darling you are going on a holiday." Joy's own mother was not to see her own mother for another 67 years.

A seemingly fruitless search was begun some years ago by Joy's mother, who felt a nagging instinct that mother still alive...extraordinary when one considers that for this to be true her mother would have to be over 100 years old. Nevertheless, mother and daughter began an endless cycle of detective work, checking out hospitals, nursing homes, churches and adoption networks. No birth certificates existed for Aboriginal children. Amazingly the database from 'Aboriginal Linkup,' an organisation set up to help Aboriginal families trace each other provided a lead to a nursing home in Crown Street, Sydney - a long way from where Joy and her mother lived in Healesville. Joy's mother's instincts were true. Her natural mother was still alive, still alert and still very proud and independent.

An emotional reunion between a mother of 104 and her 73 year old daughter made the years slip away... the grand old lady making her first plane trip at the age of 104 to live back in Healesville with her family and happily was to live to be 108. As Joy's mother said "those four years were like a lifetime."

They were the lucky ones as many of the "Stolen Children" were never reunited with their families. Joy commented on addressing the evening that she felt a real empathy with the Child Survivors as the experiences of her mother were in many ways parallel.

Today, she observed, survival is the main link that bonds the many different groups of Aboriginal people. Being robbed of so much of their culture, storytelling becomes of paramount importance, yet even this is fraught with difficulties as many Aboriginals can't even speak their own language.

Joy's tale was engrossing and we thank her for sharing her emotional journey.

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