In 1954, aged three, Rhonda Collard-Spratt was taken from her Aboriginal family and placed on Carnarvon Native Mission, Western Australia. Growing up in the white world of chores and aprons, religious teachings and cruel beatings, Rhonda drew strength and healing from her mission brothers and sisters, her art, music and poetry, and her unbreakable bond with the Dreaming.
Alice’s Daughter is the story of Rhonda’s search for culture and family as she faces violence, racism, foster families, and her father’s death in custody; one of the first deaths investigated as part of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
Written in Rhonda’s distinctive voice, Alice’s Daughter is fearless, compelling and intimate reading. Coupled with her vibrant and powerful paintings and poetry, Rhonda’s is a journey of sadness, humour, resilience and ultimately survival.
Alice's Daughter explores the journey of an Aboriginal woman placed in a remote mission settlement in WA at the age of three years. Despite cultural deprivation, dispossession institutionalisation and isolation she refused to settle for such a lifestyle. Upon embarking on a successful quest to reclaim her Aboriginality, family and mother, she developed into a strong Aboriginal woman, poet, storyteller, artist singer and songwriter. This book is an exciting read. — Emeritus Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik A.O
This work brings forward a number of dark stories and memories from behind a series of tragic walls that had been built to conquer and hold silent the indomitable spirit of a young Aboriginal woman. Rhonda Collard may have been pushed down and held down; but she fought back and rose up against those that sought to defeat her. From the harsh, dusty country of her tribal nation we follow Rhonda’s journey to the bitumen streets of this nation’s cities and we weep when we share her pain, but then rejoice when we laugh within her songs. — Sam Watson, Wanjiburrah Man, Southern Queensland Country.