The Burnt Stick is the story of a young Australian aboriginal boy, John Jagamarra, who was taken from his mother by the Welfare Department, and sent to the Fathers at the Pearl Bay Mission.
Nobody asked the mothers ... The Welfare believed they would soon get over their loss. And nobody asked the children - they would soon forget.
Yet John Jagamarra did not forget. He was nearly five when the Big Man from Welfare came looking for him - and you can remember many things when you are almost five years old.
All through his childhood John remembered the life of the camp at Dryborough Station and the good trick his mother, Liyan, played with a stick burnt in the fire when the Big Man came looking for John. She rubbed the black charcoal into his skin to make John seem darker than he really was – too dark to be taken away.
Twice she got away with it. But the third time...
Originally published in 1994, this moving book is more relevant now than ever. Aimed for ages approx 7 to 12 years old.