☼♄Jülie 's Reviews > Is That You, Ruthie?

Is That You, Ruthie? by Ruth Hegarty
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Is That You, Ruthie? was a call often heard ringing out in the dormitory or grounds, as Ruthie gradually gained a reputation for misbehavior.

Ruthie was just four and a half years old when it was 'decided' by the powers that be that she was old enough to start school...which in turn meant that she was old enough to be taken away from her Mum and placed with the other girls in a separate dormitory of the Aboriginal Settlement Mission, just close enough to her mother's dormitory to not be able to see or touch her anymore...except if she was lucky, maybe an accidental glimpse across the yard now and again.

Now that Ruthie was no longer with her mother, it meant that her mother was unencumbered with looking after her and therefore able to be sent off to work...to repay their debt to the government for providing their shelter (I use the term shelter loosely)...this could mean that she was gone for months at a time, and Ruthie was afraid she might never see her mother again. Certainly it seems, nobody tried to allay those fears or offer any kind of consolation to this terrified little girl...one of so many.

It is Queensland in 1930 and Australia is in the grip of the depression, many people were being laid off work and if you were Aboriginal you were generally the first to go. Unable to find work to support his family, Ruthie's grandfather George sought advice from a friend in the local constabulary.
On the advice of this friend Ruthie's family made the decision to voluntarily pack up their meagre belongings and move to the Barambah Aboriginal Settlement Mission in search of work and with the understanding that it was a temporary move until such time as they got on their feet again.
Ruthie was just a six months old babe in arms at the time and her unmarried mother, Ruby was waiting for her [Ruthie's] father Frank to return home soon from his away job at droving cattle....on his return they were to be married.

Grandfather came back from the police station with grim news, they would have to leave for the Settlement and there was no time to wait for Frank to return from his droving work. They would just have to hope that the locals would tell him where they went to, or else he might hopefully wait for them to return when things got better...as it was after all only temporary.

19 year old Ruby was the eldest of eight, her brothers and her sisters and her parents George and Lizzie Duncan....made the hard but necessary decision for them all to leave for the Settlement until they got back on their feet, it was for their own survival.
That decision will radically change all of their lives forever and leave lasting wounds.
....... .......

Authority, and authority figures can often be so cruel! Sometimes people in such positions need to take a good hard look within.

This book is a credit to the author Ruth Hegarty and her capacity for endurance and mindfulness. Throughout it all she has stayed true to herself and her Sisters and family. Your story is out there now Ruthie, you can be very proud.

4★s
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Quotes ☼♄Jülie  Liked

“In many cases our mothers were sent out of the dormitory to work as domestics on sheep and cattle properties and did not see their kids for up to twelve months at a time.”
Ruth Hegarty, Is That You, Ruthie?

“There was no one to comfort the children, no one to embrace them, no one to love them. Care and control were what the dormitories were all about, not love and affection.”
Ruth Hegarty, Is That You, Ruthie?

“My past is nothing more than the trace that I have left behind. What drives my life to-day is the energy that I generate in my present moment. A”
Ruth Hegarty, Is That You, Ruthie?


Reading Progress

April 7, 2016 – Shelved
April 7, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
April 7, 2016 – Shelved as: aussie-author
April 7, 2016 – Shelved as: indigenous
April 7, 2016 – Shelved as: indigenous-author
April 7, 2016 – Shelved as: cultural-australia
April 7, 2016 – Shelved as: own-kindle-book
April 7, 2016 – Shelved as: short-read
April 7, 2016 – Shelved as: less-than-150pgs
April 22, 2016 – Shelved as: aww2016-bingo-challenge
May 6, 2016 – Shelved as: memoir
May 14, 2016 – Started Reading
May 17, 2016 –
100.0% "This book is a credit to the author Ruth Hegarty and her capacity for endurance and mindfulness."
May 17, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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message 1: by Paromjit (new)

Paromjit Great review, Julie!


☼♄Jülie  Paromjit wrote: "Great review, Julie!"

Thanks Paromjit! :)


message 3: by Carolyn (new) - added it

Carolyn Excellent review Jools! It's hard to imagine how cruel we were in past times to indigenous people. Will have to add this to my Aussie reading list.


☼♄Jülie  Carolyn wrote: "Excellent review Jools! It's hard to imagine how cruel we were in past times to indigenous people. Will have to add this to my Aussie reading list."

Thanks Carolyn, I should mention that it is clear in the telling that this author was not in any way embellishing on her story...she just told it like it was, without any of the (justifiable) emotional tugging that you could have expected given the circumstances.
In doing so, the reader can easily empathise with the enormity of their circumstance.
There are so many untold stories like this, I'm glad Ruthie was able to fulfil her promise to write hers, it is important that we hear and acknowledge them.


message 5: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Great review Jools, and another I would like to read. Very expensive on kindle though so I'll see if my library has it :) Thanks!


message 6: by Carolyn (new) - added it

Carolyn It is expensive on Amazon - might wait a bit and see if the price comes down. (It's not as if I have any shortage of reading material!)


message 7: by Brenda (new)

Brenda LOL! Same!! My library doesn't have it either - 2 others by the same author but not this one..


☼♄Jülie  Brenda wrote: "LOL! Same!! My library doesn't have it either - 2 others by the same author but not this one.."

She has written a sequel Brenda so one of those might be it, I would recommend reading this first if you can get it...maybe the book whisperer can keep an eye open for it? Or Brotherhood...it's worth seeking out ;)
I bought mine from Amazon on kindle because I wanted it for the challenge :)


message 9: by Brenda (new)

Brenda No worries thanks Jools!


message 10: by Deanna (new)

Deanna This is a wonderful review, Julie!!


☼♄Jülie  Deanna wrote: "This is a wonderful review, Julie!!"

Thanks Deanna, it was a very moving book.


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