If there is ever a book for a season, then this is it. In this episode of Book Club, I speak with Aussie author Aunty Dianne O’Brien about her memoir Daughter of The River Country. This is one incredible book, written by one incredible lady that is all about digging deep and staying the course.
Described by Linda Burney MP as ‘a compelling piece of storytelling’, Aunty Di’s story is nothing short of remarkable. When Dianne was born in the 1940’s, the White Australia Policy was alive and kicking. So, at birth, she is taken from her Aboriginal mother and adopted by a Sydney family. Di grows up believing her adoptive Irish mother, Val, is her birth mother. Val promises Dianne that one day they will take a trip and she will ‘tell her a secret’. But before they get the chance, Val tragically dies.
Abandoned by her adoptive father, Di is raped at the age of 15, sentenced to Parramatta Girls Home and later forced to marry her rapist in order to keep her baby. She goes on to endure horrific domestic violence at the hands of different partners, alcohol addiction and cruel betrayal by those closest to her. But amazingly her fighting spirit is not extinguished.
At the age of 36, while raising six kids on her own, Di learns she is Aboriginal and that her great-grandfather was William Cooper, a famous Aboriginal activist. Miraculously she finds a way to forgive her traumatic past and becomes a leader in her own right, vowing to help other stolen people just like her.
It was such a pleasure and honour to speak with Aunty Di. She is a truly inspiring lady who has demonstrated the most extraordinary ability to both love and forgive. You can listen to my chat via the link below.
You can buy the book here.