As a four-year-old child, Sue Gordon AM was forcibly removed from her mother's care under the auspices of the Native Act. According to the Commissioner of Native Affairs she was quarter-caste and therefore 'entitled to live and be trained as an ordinary white child, away from the possibility of Native associations'.
She was placed in the Sister Kate's Children's Cottage Home in Perth, Western Australia, where she lived for the next fourteen years. A combination of post-traumatic stress and institutionalisation meant that Sue came to believe she was an orphan and any memory of her earlier years in Meekatharra with her mother and family were lost.
For thirty years Sue lived as an orphan; she started her own family and began to forge a remarkable career that saw her take positions in the army, with NASA and in Aboriginal Affairs; then one day her birth family found her and everything changed.
'My Three Families' is one of three standalone episodes of the documentary series From the Western Frontier, featuring the work of Western Australian Indigenous documentary directors and writers. Supported by ScreenWest and NITV, this documentary series features the individual stories of everyday Indigenous Australians who have a unique and inspirational story to tell. These contemporary documentaries highlight how specific moments in time can change an individual's journey, making them the person that they are today.
From the Western Frontier engages directly with the cross-curriculum priority 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures'. It can also be connected to Humanities (History and Geography) and English in the middle-school classroom.
'My Three Families' is from Series 1 of From the Western Frontier. The other episodes in this series are 'Elizika' and 'Thunderstorms'.
The two episodes from Series 2 of From the Western Frontier are also available to purchase on DVD. They are 'Angela's Rules' and 'Fighter'.
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