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The Last Daughter shares her story

Wiradjuri woman, author, filmmaker, mother, speaker, elder, truth-teller; just a few words that have been used to describe the remarkable Aunty Brenda Matthews.

When Brenda Matthews was two years old, she and her six siblings were taken from their parents. For the next five years she was a much-loved daughter in a white family, unaware of the existence of her Aboriginal family, her identity, and how hard her parents were fighting for her return.

Brenda’s life was once again upended when she was suddenly returned to her Aboriginal family; becoming the last daughter to make it home.

It wasn’t until decades later that Brenda recovered memories of her long-lost white family and sought to bridge the gap between worlds, healing her own trauma and “telling truth on both sides of the story” in the process.

On Wednesday 26 April, All Saints Anglican School had the privilege of hosting the launch of Brenda’s book, The Last Daughter.

The event held in the McIntosh Administration Centre was attended by students and staff, as well as members of the All Saints and local communities.

There were times to reflect, times to laugh and certainly many misty-eyed moments as Brenda gave the audience a glimpse into her life during a short book reading, as well as a yarning session with Kuku Yalanji artist and All Saints cultural advisor Lalania Tusa.

During launch week Brenda visited classrooms, the Nairn Theatre and All Saints Radio where she participated in a live podcast. She was also the guest of honour at the annual Mother’s Day Morning Tea event.

When asked about her connection to All Saints, and why she decided to make this the home for her book launch, Brenda spoke fondly of the School.

“All Saints has been the first and only school so far to give me a safe space to share my story – on stage in the theatre, on school camps, in the classroom,” she said, during the podcast.

“That safe space has become a beautiful relationship. As Indigenous people, it’s always been about building on relationships. I think it’s a good thing when you can have someone to support you in that.”

The documentary film adaptation of The Last Daughter will be released in cinemas Australia-wide on 15 June.

The film had its Queensland premiere the weekend following the book launch at the Gold Coast Film Festival, where it won Best Australian Film, in a packed theatre of community members and friends - many of whom were from All Saints.

It also won the Audience Award for Best Documentary in the Adelaide Film Festival late last year.

Brenda’s story is poignant and she hopes it will inspire conversations, help others find ways to heal the intergenerational trauma within this country and foster a broader connection between black and white Australia.

For information on how to purchase The Last Daughter book or watch the trailer for the film, head to

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