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Winners – On Loan (1985)


Lindy Baker (Marillac Johnston) believes she is a Vietnamese orphan, adopted by Marj (Belinda Giblin) and Geoff Baker (John Walton) when she was three years old. Only occasionally wondering about her background, Lindy is living happily with her family until a letter from her Vietnamese father arrives. Having searched for many years, Le (Quang Chinh Dinh) is overjoyed to find her and he is coming from Thailand to see her. Lindy and her adoptive family are thrown into emotional turmoil as they wait anxiously for his arrival.

Everyone is very defensive when Le first arrives but gradually Lindy gets to know him better and is introduced to her Vietnamese family and culture. Le wants his daughter back and Lindy finds herself torn between two families and two futures – between Australia and Vietnam. Finally Lindy makes her choice. She is Australian now and so she will remain in Australia and visit her Vietnamese family when she is older. However, Le has given Lindy a great gift, a sense of identity she did not have before and she tells him this in her letter to him.

Curator’s notes

This is a strong, emotional and very painful story, seen though Lindy’s eyes as she is forced to make a choice between her natural father and her adoptive parents, a frightening choice for a young person. On Loan also captures Australia in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and includes some references to the hardships suffered by the Vietnamese people during the War, something that most Australian children today will know little or nothing about.

The stories of the Vietnamese War orphans and their adoption overseas is a part of this, along with the big questions about family, adoption and relinquishing of children by birth parents. In this story, it is further complicated by the cultural issues that are a part of inter-racial adoption. Despite the 1980s hairstyles and clothes it’s a story that has stood the test of time.

First broadcast in 1985 on Network Ten.