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November 17, 2017


My Place

by N@ncy


What do we know about Sally Morgan?

  1. I knew nothing about Sally Morgan until I read
  2. Brona’s Books post in 2016 about her children’s book Sister Heart.
  3. Then I stumbled upon her  simple poem Janey Told Me.
  4. In just a few words you feel something hidden…a stigma no one must know!
  5. During  my weeks searching for books for #AusReadingMonth @Brona’s Books
  6. …I found myself curious about the plight of the Aboriginal race in Australia.
  7. So I decided to read My Place (memoir) by Ms Morgan.
  8. Brona tells us in her post:
  9. “Sally Morgan’s autobiography, My Place was
  10. one of the publishing super stories of the late 1980’s.
  11. Her story was fascinating but has since been
  12. …surrounded by various controversies and academic debates.”



  1. Sally Morgan tell us how she learned  of her Indigenous Australian heritage.
  2. Morgan visits family, old acquaintances  in the land of her ancestors.
  3. She tape-recorded the monologues of her relatives and they take over the narration.


Quote:  pg 192

  1. Sally: I found out that there was a lot to be ashamed of.
  2. Mum: You mean we should feel ashamed?
  3. Sally: No, I mean Australia should.



  1. This is one one of the first books written from the Aboriginal point of view.
  2. “No one knows what it was like for us.” (pg 208)
  3. People must realize  that identity is a complex thing.
  4. Identity is often not fully dependent on
  5. …your culture or the way you look.
  6. Morgan’s family shame…
  7. was so strong that she had not been told she was indigenous.
  8. She was well into her teens when her mother admitted the truth. (pg 170-71)
  9. Sally Morgan’s book  My Place was written  30 years ago.
  10. But is is still a very relevant
  11. She is an excellent storyteller…and her family history will touch a heart string.
  12. It touched mine!


Last thoughts:

  1. I started this book My Place yesterday in the train
  2. I never looked out the window because
  3. this story was very moving.
  4. The book really picks up steam in chapter ‘Owning up’ (pg 165).
  5. Pages 7-164 deal with Morgan’s childhood.
  6. Basic info…but not overly interesting.
  7. So you must decide is ‘skimming’ in the beginning
  8. …of the book is a good idea,
  9. Despite the slow start… the book engaged and entertained me
  10. ….that is what good books do!
5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 18 2017

    I’m glad this is still a book that can engage attention and sympathy years after it was written. As I said, at the time of it’s publication it was HUGE in Australia for many of the reasons you’ve identified. For a long time Australia ignored and/or deliberately shunned knowing anything about our Indigenous history, other than the story of the English colonial settlers battles to make this land their own. We all grew up believing the story that they were a doomed race, dying out and irrelevant to our modern lives.

    Thankfully for the last twenty years or so, this story has changed dramatically. Modern Australians are questioning the history we were taught; we’re checking for cultural biases and prejudices…and finding every text, every story riddled with them. Historians and sociologists are looking at our history through other lenses and the view is often very different.

    This book was the one that got the regular day to day readers (not just academics) to engage with this new perspective. Kate Grenville’s The Secret River was the fiction book that achieved a similar thing.


    • Nov 19 2017

      I could write a post ‘being the expert’ but still don’t feel qualified after reading
      Into the Heart of Tansania – Position Doubtful – My Place – Salt Water. But I do feel I ‘ve learned so much.
      Thanks for you long comment with the perspective from the present. Grenville’s book looks like a logical ‘next read’ for me!

      Liked by 1 person


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. November Round-Up: History, Memoir, Biography. – Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog
  2. Tracker | NancyElin
  3. #AusReadingMonth Wrap Up | NancyElin

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