What the little bird didn't tell me

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Abstract

Nearly twenty years ago I published a book that documented a journey I had been on for over a decade. The book was A Little Bird Told Me: Family Secrets, Necessary Lives. This monograph represented a journey of discovery where I located my Aboriginal ancestors and answered a number of questions that had dogged my family for generations. Along the way, I discovered a story of secrets and lies, of madness, and refuge. In this talk, I will reflect on this book nearly twenty years later, with a focus on the importance of women as the keepers and tellers of family stories. In so doing I will consider the reasons why I wrote the book, what impact it had at the time and its ongoing influence. I hope that these reflections may have something to say to other family historians, and I want to put the case for family history being considered capital 'H' History too. Finally, I want to question the view that there are some family secrets and necessary lies that should never be revealed and told.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-15
Number of pages11
JournalVictorian Historical Journal
Volume91
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

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