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The Shack That Dad Built
Dad decided to build a shack for us by the beach at La Perouse.
The shack was made of bits of tin from rubbish tips and had a dirt floor.
It was hot in summer and cold in winter, but to us it was great.
And we had the biggest backyard in the world!
When Elaine Russell was five, her dad built the family a shack just outside the Aboriginal mission at La Perouse in Sydney. In The Shack that Dad Built, Elaine illustrates what life was like for an indigenous kid on the urban fringes. Her recollections range from the happy memories of hide-and-seek in the sand dunes and hunting for bush tucker to more bittersweet memories, such as her “Saddest Christmas Ever” (when the charity responsible for distributing presents to the local Aboriginal kids ran out of toys just as Elaine reached the head of the queue). Elaine’s colourful, painterly illustrations vividly recreate these childhood experiences.
The Shack That Dad Built is beautifully told by actor Kylie Bracknell, introduced by Soraya Briggs and filmed at La Perouse Museum in La Perouse, NSW.