This article examines the depiction of Jedda’s Sarah McMann and Australia’s English-born Sarah Ashley. In each character there is a maternal desire that drives the plot to which responsibility for the children’s fate is attributed. National assimilation policies are expressed emphatically through Sarah McMann’s desires for the aboriginal child, Jedda, and the failures of assimilation are played out in the child’s tragic fate. In Australia the plot is resolved by returning the Aboriginal child, Nullah, to his grandfather. This only becomes possible because Sarah Ashley’s agenda for intervening in the removal of Nullah by the state, in the hope of raising him as her own child, is realized. Within the logic of the narrative, the outsider status of the recent immigrant Sarah Ashley enables her to become a clear-sighted agent in the return of the child to his family. This article considers the significance of these two representations of the white maternal in the context of the history of child removal policies, Bringing Them Home and the National Apology.
- National Apology
- Stolen generations