Part of the gang

“We had many Aboriginal children at the old primary school with us. I remember one girl, her name was Mary* – I have never forgotten her because when we were ready to go to high school, the headmistress asked my friend and I, if would we make sure that Mary caught the bus with us. Mary came with us for a week and then she disappeared and I have never to this day found out what happened to her. But it was wonderful that the headmistress thought good enough of Mary to try and get her to high school and we thought nothing about making sure she was on the bus. But it was just a week she was at high school with us and then she never turned up anymore. We couldn’t find her. She used to always meet us down the pool because we always swam together as kids down there. I’ve asked several people if they knew what happened to her but they don’t know. Maybe she went back to Sydney at that age, I don’t know. As I said we did have a lot of Aboriginal children with us and they were just part of the gang of Port Kembla kids.”

– Dulcie dal Molin, 29 January 2016

[*name has been changed]

Photo of children playing at Port Kembla Public School ca. 1940-50 from the collections of the Wollongong City Libraries and the Illawarra Historical Society. (P09043)