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Bittersweet Journey

The long-awaited sequel to the award-winning memoir Is That You, Ruthie?

Available. Dispatched 2-3 business days

After twenty-two years under Government control as an inmate of Cherbourg Aboriginal Mission, Ruth journeys towards freedom by marrying Joe Hegarty and moving to a nearby settlement. However, the settlement ‘with its origins as a camp for displaced Aboriginal families, its system of food rations and shortage of housing and jobs’ is a difficult start for the young couple.

Humour, a supportive circle of family and friends, and Ruth’s own resourcefulness prevail, and eventually the Hegartys achieve the basics of a house for their growing family. The invasive powers of the Native Affairs Department continue to affect their lives even when, years later, they move to the city. Ruth‘s determination and irrepressible sense of fairness characterise a life vigorously committed to social justice and community causes.

Ruth Hegarty

Ruth Hegarty

Ruth Hegarty won the 1998 David Unaipon Award for her manuscript Is That You, Ruthie? Her sequel memoir, Bittersweet Journey (UQP, 2003), recounts her life after Cherbourg Mission as a wife, mother and advocate for the Indigenous community. She has raised a family of eight children and lives in Brisbane.

In 1998 Ruth was awarded the Premier's Award for Queensland Seniors for outstanding service to the community. She is a recognised public speaker and leader and has lectured at many educational institutions including the Australian Catholic University. Her advocacy in the 'Stolen Wages' campaigns and recognition for her dormitory sisters in Cherbourg knows no bounds. In 2010 Ruth received 'The Queensland Greats' Award for 40 years of involvement in Indigenous issues and programs; and in 2014 an Honorary Doctorate from the Australian Catholic University in recognition of her contributions to Australian literature, Indigenous Education and Community Leadership.

In 2023 the adaption of Is That You, Ruthie for the stage takes her story to another level and hopefully shines a spotlight on the impact of the Aboriginal Protection Acts on the lives of her people who were caught in an unjust system of protection, segregation and assimilation.