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Dear America Wiki

Who Am I?: The Diary of Mary Talence is the fifth book in the My Australian Story series. It was first published in December 2001, and republished three times in March 2006, July 2010, and May 2020. The book was written by Anita Heiss and was followed by On Board the Boussole.


"To my mother, Elsie, for her inspiration, strength and wisdom. And to all those who are still asking 'why'? May you find peace, even if never an answer."

Book description[]

""I woke up this morning and I couldn't stop crying cos this place is not my home, even though everyone say it is. I miss Matron Rose and all the kids and now I miss my real mum more than ever. When I was a little girl Mum would always hug me when I cried and tell me everything would be all right. Who's gunna hug me here?"
Mary was taken to Bomaderry Aboriginal Children's Home when she was only five years old. Now she's ten years old and living with a white family in Sydney. She doesn't fit in and starts to question why.

"I woke up this morning and I couldn't stop crying, cos this place is not my home, even though everyone says it is. When I was a little girl Mum would always hug me when I cried and tell me everything would be all right. Who's gunna hug me here?
Mary lives with the Burkes, but they're not her real family. She hasn't seen her real mum and dad since she was taken away from them five years ago. Everyone tells her to forget about them, but she can't. She wants to find out why she was taken, and where she really belongs.


Historical Note[]


Main article: List of Who Am I? characters


Main article: Anita Heiss



  • NSW Premier's Literary Awards Young People's History Prize (2002) - short-listed[8]


"I'd like to thank the staff at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the Aboriginal Research and Resource Centre (UNSW). Special thanks to Eileen Stevens, Barbara Nicholson and Link-Up (NSW) for their time, experience and wisdom. Thanks to Libby Gleeson, Rosie Scott and Linda Jaivin for proofing and unconditional friendship and support.
The photograph on the front cover is of Leila Clarke from Walgett NSW, taken around 1948. Leila had two half-sisters removed from her family before she had a chance to meet them, and they never came back. She later married Arthur Murray and became a committed advocate for Aboriginal rights, and as Leila Murray became known for her role in calling for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody as well as raising eleven children of her own.


  • The cover of the third edition is a photograph of Aboriginal rights activist Leila Murray (née Clarke).[9]


See also[]

File:Who Am I? Teacher's Notes.pdf

My Australian Story

A Banner Bold | Plagues and Federation | A Tale of Two Families | Surviving Sydney Cove | The Rum Rebellion
The Yankee Whaler | A Different Sort of Real | Who Am I? | On Board the Boussole | The Bombing of Darwin
Fords and Flying Machines | Snowy | Riding with Thunderbolt | Our Don Bradman | A Marathon of Her Own
Our Enemy, My Friend

1st relaunch

New Gold Mountain | Outback | Cyclone Tracy | Refugee | The Melting Pot | Archer's Melbourne Cup
Claw of the Dragon | Atomic Testing

2nd relaunch

The Hunt for Ned Kelly | The Phar Lap Mystery | My Father's War | Sydney Harbour Bridge | Heroes of Tobruk
Escape from Cockatoo Island | Gallipoli | Kokoda | Convict Girl | Vietnam

3rd relaunch

Black Sunday | Our Race for Reconciliation | Bushfire | Rebellion at Eureka | Castle Hill Rebellion | Six Seconds
The Battle for Victoria Street

External links[]