Personal Reports and Experiences

Orphaned by the Colour of My Skin



“I need to emphasise that my time in The Home of the Good Shepherd caused me mental trauma, which I feel destroyed my soul as a person,” says Mary Terszak about herself.

“I hope that my readers will understand and that others can see why I acted in the way that I did. I am not happy with what I became and I have had to live with this till today. Being able to tell this story is the foundation of my recovery and well-being.”

Mary was a fair-skinned Aboriginal child who was institutionalised aged two years. In Orphaned by the Colour of My Skin she combines a diary of her personal experiences as a member of the Stolen Generations with an auto-ethnographical analysis of its impact on her life - mental health, identity, well-being, life as a daughter, mother, grandmother.

Mary Terszak, now 65 years old, has spent 18 years at Sister Kate’s Children’s Home in Western Australia. She struggled with aggression, self-image, depression and loss of identity - all of which are problems typical for members of the Stolen Generations, many of which still suffer from them today.

Because assimilation policies told me I was white, the person I was meant to be, I wasn't allowed to be.—Mary Terszak

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An appropriate citation for this document is:, Books - Orphaned by the Colour of My Skin, retrieved 24 March 2018