Dawn Smith [2nd interview, part 4]

Dawn Smith speaks about the significance of the repatriation ceremony of Mungo man and woman.

Dawn Smith – (1) 16 November 2017, Dareton NSW

Dawn Smith – (2) recorded on 21 April 2018 in Mildura, VIC.

Dawn Smith was interviewed briefly by Louise Darmody in the first November 2017 series however, Dawn agreed with Louise Darmody that she had not fully told her story and that a further interview would add significant information. Dawn talks about being a Ngiyampaa woman and her early years growing up with her family at Murrin Bridge Mission. At 13 she was taken to Sydney by the Aboriginal Protection Board where she worked as a house maid. She returned to Murrin Bridge Mission after a year but did not resume her schooling. Dawn married Roland Smith in Dareton, a town on the border of New South Wales and Victoria and they had eight children. She talks about being an elected member on the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area Aboriginal Advisory Committee and working for many years to bring Mungo Man home.

Dawn speaks about hunting for bush tucker as a young girl with her parents Arthur and Grace, living on the mission and not being allowed to speak their language, the prejudices her grandchildren face at school and discrimination her family experiences. Dawn talks about her feelings about Mungo Man being brought back to Mungo National Park:
“We were happy and sad and it was good to have him back because it’s his resting place with his ancestors”.

This interview was part of a collaboration between Louise Darmody and the State Library of New South Wales. The interviews were conducted by Louise Darmody, journalist, oral historian, producer, and founder of Sound Memories an oral history and documentary-making firm established in 2003.

These oral history recordings document the personal stories behind the Mungo Man historic repatriation process which took place on the 16-19th November 2017. After 43 years the Traditional Custodians brought Mungo Man and other internationally significant ancestral remains home to Mungo National Park within the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage area in New South Wales.

The full catalogue record is online at http://archival.sl.nsw.gov.au/Details/archive/110616135

Part of this interview has been transcribed and is available on Amplify at:






Dawn Smith
Location Description: 

Lake Mungo, New South Wales 2715, Australia. 

Original Date: 
2018 April 21st
Copyright status:: In copyright Copyright holder:: State Library of New South Wales Please acknowledge: : Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Oral history interviews concerning the repatriation of Mungo Man to Mungo National Park conducted by Louise Darmody, commissioned by the State Library of New South Wales, 16 November 2017-19 April 2018