Harry Carmody recently found out how old he is. For most of his life he never knew where he came from, his mother’s name, his father’s face, or the land that his family identify with. That’s because as a toddler he was taken from his mother’s arms to live a white life at the Church of Christ’s Norseman Mission. A brown skinned child fighting for emotional survival in a world of two cultures.
Silent Legacy is Harry’s tale of searching for his identity. It’s a journey that takes us along the Nullarbor and up in to the Great Victorian Desert. It involves elements of a major Australian tragedy – the atomic testing at Maralinga.
Harry’s search is not straightforward. So far it’s revealed conflicting stories about his past. Therefore it’s an ongoing process of discovering family, including his Italian father who worked along the Transline. It was thought he was a P.O.W. now it seems he is a butcher on the Tea and Sugar Train that gave out food rations to Indigenous people along the line.
Silent Legacy is one story of a whole generation of people who lived in an era of social upheaval. A generation who today no longer possess an identity. Silent Legacy also tells of how this effects the rest of the family – the next generation.
Harry’s life has revolved around his family, his work and his clues to discover the family he was stolen from. His working life was spent in the mines of Kambalda and Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. His hobby was weekend prospecting. He is a millionaire though no-one would realise from his lifestyle as he lives by his philosophy, “keep life simple – you have less problems”. He is a man of few words who is respected within the Wongi and white community.
Kinship is the basis for all Indigenous relationships and will now be put in ‘place’ when Harry meets family for the first time this year.
This documentary will reveal a personalised picture of Harry’s quest for identity. An identity that also needs to be acknowledged by other members of the Indigenous community. It’s a recognition of Aboriginality – kindredness – which unifies people both physically an spiritually.
Harry’s life is just like a jigsaw puzzle and though there’s fragmentation, a picture is beginning to form.
At 60, Harry finally knows his ‘place’.
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(pick of the week)
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