Herein lies the secret history of slavery in Australia.
During the time of the Stolen Generations, thousands upon thousands of Aboriginal girls were taken from their families and pressed into domestic servitude by the Australian Government. They were supposedly employed as servants, but with total control over their movements, wages and living conditions, their lives all too frequently became an inescapable cycle of abuse, rape and enslavement, with consequences that echo powerfully to this day.
Recounting the stories of five of these women – Rita, Violet and the three Wenberg sisters – Servant or Slave is a commanding piece of first-person testimony to a dark and unacknowledged corner of Australian history. Shot with admirable craft and humanity by documentarian Steven McGregor (Croker Island Exodus, MIFF 2012), Servant or Slave is a work of great sadness and urgency, bringing to forceful life the human tragedy of Australia's Indigenous history in the unadorned words of those who lived it.
Gus Berger will host a Q&A with Steven McGregor at the session on 1 August.