We respectfully caution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers that this website contains images of people who have passed away.Close
The removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families remains a dark chapter in Australia’s history. Pattie Lees was just ten-years-old when she and her four siblings were separated from their mother on the grounds of neglect and placed into State care. Believing she was being shipped and exiled to Africa, Pattie was ultimately fated to spend the rest of her childhood on the island once dubbed ‘Australia’s Alcatraz’ – Palm Island Aboriginal Settlement, off the coast of Queensland.
A Question of Colour; my journey to belonging provides a first-hand account of Pattie’s experiences as a ‘fair-skinned Aboriginal’ during Australia’s assimilationist policy era and recounts her survival following a decade of sexual, physical and emotional abuse as a Ward of the State. A Question of Colour is a deeply moving and powerful testimony to the resilience of a young girl, her identity and her journey to belong.
"In Pattie Lees' memoir...words reveal the grace and emotional transcendence the author has undoubtedly reached as a survivor of the stolen generations. Lees combines history and memoir with such tact, delicacy and reverence that for all 334 pages, I felt strengthened by her crisp storytelling."
– Jessie Tu, The Sydney Morning Herald