They still play with toy cars

We are currently working on a research project to support the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who have to go to boarding school, as there is no secondary school in their remote community. The students are very young when they have to leave home.

Silver trimmed, gleaming red,
Spinning, spangled wheels,
Our young boy plays, while we plot for them,
To take our children away.

They “taught us to read, to write and pray
Then they took the children away”*
Some might pray less, but still we miss
Our kids when they go away.

Red land surrounds soothing camp smoke
Big barra on coals of our Country
Gran’ma gives thanks, farewells our boy,
Ping! WhatsAPP? Sis’s Insta Snaps in.

Yeah, the kids learn, but not always good things
When sent to another’s County.
Without the right Welcome, no spirit from home
How will their hearts grow strong?

Our young fella spins the toy car’s wheels,
In dust, twists historic lines,
Teach them how to really live?
Will the children come back?

Will the children come back?
Will the children come back?
Back to their mothers
Back to their fathers
Will the children come back?

*Archie Roach ‘Took The Children Away’ 1990 Charcoal Lane


picture credit:, Aboriginal culture – Sport, retrieved 29 November 2016



There you are upon the wall
Stacked atop each other
small, medium, large
sterile, nitrile, examined.

My mind, latex-free,
stretches back to the
Land of the Unexpected
upon a mat we sit.

You tell of drawing out new life
onto cold, unwelcome floors
baby three, baby four
is there room for more?

The beds are full,
no pain relief
on this shift, as before
no gloves.

There you are upon the wall
Stacked atop each other…

photo credit: