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Reaching Through Time: Finding my family's stories

Allen & Unwin

Reaching Through Time: Finding my family's stories


The powerful story of a Bundjalung woman's journey to uncover her family history.

The phone rang unexpectedly, late one night. 'Guess who our white ancestors were?' chuckled Uncle Gerry. 'They were slave traders! A couple of generations of slave traders!'

After this startling revelation, Shauna wanted to find out more. She discovered her ancestor Robert Bostock arrived in Sydney in 1815 after being convicted of slave trading in Africa, and his grandson Augustus John married Bundjalung woman One My. Battling restrictions on access to government archives, Shauna gradually pieced together her family's stories of dispossession and frontier violence; life on reserves under the harsh regime of the Aborigines Protection Board; a cricket match with Bradman; activism and arts in Redfern; and a surprising reconciliation.

Reaching Through Time reveals the cataclysmic impact of colonisation on Aboriginal families, and how this ripples through to the present. It also shows how family research can bring a deeper understanding and healing of the wounds in our history. Shauna writes, 'I am a proud Aboriginal woman who has always wanted to make a stronger connection to my cultural heritage. I experienced an inner yearning to find out about my ancestors and what they experienced in life. This is the story of my journey.'

'Compelling and courageous truth-telling.' - Dr Jackie Huggins AM, historian and author

'This brilliantly researched, difficult-to- put-down history demonstrates how five generations of a multi-talented Aboriginal family made their worlds anew.' - Professor Ann McGrath AM

'Children stolen, homes resumed, authorities spying, ASIO snooping. Bostock's family has it all - yet she can still see the funny side. This is why we need family histories. This is why we need truth-telling.' - Professor Peter Read AM

About the author
A former primary school teacher, Shauna Bostock's curiosity about her ancestors took her all the way to a PhD in Aboriginal history.

Shauna Bostock
Published July 2023
352 Pages
234mm x 153mm
ISBN 9781761067983

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