Every morning our people would crush charcoal and mix that with animal fat and smother that all over us, so that when the police came they could only see black children in the distance. We were told always to be on the alert and, if white people came, to run into the bush or run and stand behind the trees as stiff as a poker, or else hide behind logs or run into culverts and hide. Often the white people - we didn't know who they were - would come into our camps. And if the Aboriginal group was taken unawares, they would stuff us into flour bags and pretend we weren't there. We were told not to sneeze. We knew if we sneezed and they knew that we were in there bundled up, we'd be taken off and away from the area.
There was a disruption of our cycle of life because we were continually scared to be ourselves. During the raids on the camps it was not unusual for people to be shot - shot in the arm or the leg. You can understand the terror that we lived in, the fright - not knowing when someone will come unawares and do whatever they were doing - either disrupting our family life, camp life, or shooting at us.Confidential evidence 681, Western Australia: woman ultimately surrendered at 5 years to Mt Margaret Mission for schooling in the 1930s.