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Paint Me Black: Memories of Croker Island and other journeys

Publication date
Claire Henty-Gebert


Claire Henty-Gebert’s life is remarkable and inspiring. Born in the late 1930s, the daughter of a white settler and an Alyawarra woman, Claire was four years old when she was taken to the Bungalow mission in Alice Springs.

Much of her young life was spent on the newly formed Croker Island mission and she recalls happy days in the care of compassionate missionaries. Sent south to escape the threat from Japanese fighters during World War Two, Claire later returned to Croker Island and married. Inspired by others, Claire traced her Aboriginal family, however; she was never to meet her mother.

Claire’s reminiscences and a wide selection of photos combine here with conventional documentary sources, cultural knowledge and people’s memories.


Shortlisted — Chief Minister's NT History Book Award, 2006

Reviews and endorsements

This is an important first-person account of a slice of Aboriginal life in the Northern Territory. It is told without rancour, although many of the stories are tinged with sadness and great personal hardship.

-- Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald, August 2005