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Mildred's story

Mildred’s mother was part of the Stolen Generations. Originally from the Northern Territory but living in rural South Australia, the family lived on a station where Mildred’s father worked as a boundary rider.

When her mum was ordered by the Aboriginal Protection Minister to move to a mission, Mildred went with her. However when Mildred was 15, in the early 1960s, she was sent by the Aborigine’s Department to live and work in a small community almost 100 miles away.

Mildred was placed with with Reg and Dora Malone who ran the local store. The Malones had a couple of young adopted Aboriginal kids, and daughters. There was also another young white female worker called Nina who was just a year older than Mildred.

It was Mildred’s job to assist with childcare and housework. One time when she was doing the dishes, Reg came up behind Mildred and ‘he put his hands around me, and pulled my breasts tight, and said, yeah, not a bad little button what’s growing’.

A week or two later, Reg abused her again after dinner. He waited until everyone else had left the room, and ‘when I went to get up he put his hand right up in my dress, and my pants ... He said, I just want to feel, feel things. And I got very angry, and I was crying. I hit him with things’.

Mildred then went to her room, and Nina came in while she was still crying.

‘I said Mr Malone touched me. I said he’s did it twice now. And she said, don’t worry Mildred, it happened to me too. He did the same to me.’

After Nina left, Reg came into the room and told her ‘“if you don’t tell my wife what I did, I promise you 9 o’clock tomorrow morning you come around to the shop and you can pick out all the pants you want”. I didn’t know what to do, I was still crying. I was very, very upset about it’.

When Dora later came in and asked Mildred what was wrong, she disclosed anyway, telling her ‘Mr Malone touched me.’

However, Mildred didn’t tell the police because she knew in those days the word of an Aboriginal girl wasn’t likely to be believed. ‘If I told on him, the police would say “it’s all lies about Mr Malone” because we didn’t have any rights then.’

A couple of weeks after the second incident, Mildred was sent back home. Before she left, Reg said to her, ‘Don’t think now you’re gone ... that’s going to stop the girls from coming here to work for me and my wife’.

Mildred’s ‘first sexual encounter’ was being raped when she was 16. She became unable to trust men, and when she got married her husband was violent and unfaithful.

She has recently contacted police to report the sexual abuse by Reg. At the time she spoke to the Royal Commission, she was waiting to hear if Reg was still alive and able to be questioned, as he would be quite elderly by now.

Mildred is now a great-grandmother. Her ‘daughters know the story’ and her son ‘understood’ when she said she would be reporting Reg. She told the Commissioner that her mum had taught her that her body was her own and she had rights over it, and that she has also passed this on to her own kids.

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