Foster Father & Son
Slave Master & Slave

A Researched Account of Australia’s Shared History

Acknowledgement of Country

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples of Australia are recognised as Australia’s First Peoples. The First Peoples language groups are known as the First Nations of Australia. The First Nations People are accepted as the Traditional Custodians and Owners of the lands, waterways, and skies of their country.

Davina acknowledges Turrubal, Jager, Kabi Kabi (Gubbi Gubbi) and Waka (Wakka Wakka) the countries on which she lived until leaving Brisbane and the Pine Rivers District. While living in Gladstone she lived on the country of the Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda. Living in Melbourne Davina is on Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and Bunurong Boon Wurrung country.


The beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and the mystery of Uluru captivates the world, making Australia a must visit tourist destination. It’s history, however, particularly the time of first contact between Aboriginal people and the British is not well known. Either by Australian’s or those interested from similar societies, such as Canada, the United States and Aotearoa/New Zealand.

The period of first contact was named ‘shared history’ by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (the Council). Shared History became the fourth of eight key issues to be addressed by the Council’s work in the 1990s. Our author Davina supported the work of the Council. However, Davina has also found that the shared history of Australia often divides opinion. Especially when little facts are known and understood. Each event needs to be put into context, from both sides. With the Aboriginal side often not being heard, let alone known or understood.

Always knowing and claiming her Aboriginality, Davina is the granddaughter of one of the two men whose lives are highlighted in this must-read book. Her research which she initially thought of as ‘family research’ began in the 1970s. When as a teenager studying Australian History at the North Brisbane College of Advanced Education, she asked herself; ‘Where is my Ancestral Country?’

Decades later as the research became a PhD thesis, she soon found herself exploring the answers to questions such as: ‘How did some Aboriginal people at the end of the 19th century come to be living with the colonisers?’ ‘Why were Aboriginal children, moved from one coloniser household to another?’

Davina in conducting her research was not simply undertaking family research, but she has researched and written about Australia’s shared history. It is research that has highlighted some of the secrets of Australia’s shared history. In its own way the book is truth-telling which has started many conversations that would otherwise never have taken place. It is relevant to answering today’s questions about recognition, and treaty. It must be read by all interested in Australia’s future.

Author Biography

Davina B Woods PhD was born in Brisbane and raised at Deep Water Bend. She attended Bald Hills State Primary School, followed by Pine Rivers District State High. She enrolled at Kedron Park Teachers College which while she was there transformed into the North Brisbane College of Advanced Education.

While on maternity leave in 1984 Davina received a letter from the Queensland Education Department (QED). It resulted in her becoming one of the five teachers, who were also Aboriginal, being employed as the inaugural Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander Education Unit of the QED. Undertaking external studies Davina completed a Bachelor of Education, a Graduation Certificate in Aboriginal Studies, and a Master of Arts.

Leaving QED in 1990 Davina became the Federal Aboriginal Education Officer of the Australian Education Union. Later employed at a Melbourne University, she completed a Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education and her PhD for which she received the Most Outstanding Research Student award, 2018.

As a writer Davina had her first article Why Aboriginal Studies published in the QED professional journal QUEST in 1986. In 2000 she had her first chapter published in the Professor Mary Ann Bin-Sallik edited book Aboriginal women by degrees: their stories of the journey towards academic achievement. It was the first of several book chapters Davina was requested to write and has had published.

In 2006 her poem Urban Songlines won her the Victorian Indigenous Art Cultural Heritage Award. The fact that the judging was performed by members of the First Nations community of Victoria, made the award extra special. Davina has also had her essay Being Educated published in the prestigious literary journal Meanjin Spring 2023.

Davina has two children who proudly acknowledge their Kuku-Djungan/Kuku-Yalanji heritage. Currently she has five grandchildren and is hoping for more.

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