A black-and-white newsreel feature shows two Indigenous children and an older Indigenous girl from Melville Island in the Northern Territory with their adoptive family at home in suburban Melbourne.
A Dream Comes True: NATIVE GIRLS’ 'FAIRY PALACE’
Narrator This luxurious Melbourne home is a fairytale come true for three Aboriginal girls from Melville Island, 180 miles from Darwin. Mr and Mrs Deutscher visited the island last year and adopted three Aborigines to bring up with their own three children. Christine is four and for the first time in her life she has a mother and father. Two-year-old Faye was rescued by a Territory policeman who found her abandoned. They’ve been cared for by the Methodist mission and now they live in a 15-room mansion. Mr Deutscher says he believes it’s possible to integrate Aboriginals into white families. Christine certainly seems to be proving that Mr Deutscher is right and so does Faye. It’s all so new to them and they’re still a little wide-eyed. A long way from Melville Island but at last a home and the love and affection of a family of their own. Sleep tight, children, because you know that dreams do come true, don’t you?
Henry Reynolds is interviewed.
Professor Henry Reynolds, Australian historian How do you determine what is a good intention? I mean, there was certainly people who said, particularly if they saw light-coloured children, and said 'these children shouldn’t be allowed to grow up in the Aboriginal camp. They should be brought into white society and their level of civilisation raised.’ That was the sort of view. There were also people who thought that the conditions in camps were bad, as they were. I mean because the social, medical conditions of many Aboriginal people was very, very poor and so people thought, ‘Well, it’s better if you take the children away. They’ll have a better life.’ And many individuals adopted Aboriginal children on this assumption – ‘We can give them a better life.’ So good intentions were there but behind that, particularly in the 1930s and right through to the 1940s, was this, this quite deliberate plan to breed the Aborigines out.
Marcia Langton is interviewed. Also shown is black-and-white archival footage of anthropologists taking physical measurements of Indigenous people in the bush, and a shot of a page from an anthropological text of the 1930s containing calculations assessing ‘degrees’ of Aboriginality.
Professor Marcia Langton, Australian anthropologist Norman B. Tindale, the physical anthropologist, wrote the theory of race in Australia and it looks like a studbook. It looks like a breeding manual for animals. ‘If you mix one fullblood with one half-caste equals a three-quarter-caste. One three-quarter-caste mixed with one quadroon equals one half-caste.’ And that’s published in a scholary journal, in an anthropological journal.
Another excerpt from the interview with Henry Reynolds is played over more black-and-white archival footage of anthropologists taking physical measurements of Indigenous people in the bush.
Henry Eugenics was an idea which was extremely important in most Western countries and the idea was that, through breeding, you would improve the race of the nation, that you would breed out bad charateristics with large-scale plans. That is, you would sterilise the unfit, and that happened widely in many Western countries, and in Australia it took the form of trying to breed out the colour.