The Last Daughter (2023)

  • Biography, Documentary
  • 1h 26m
  • 2023

At Campbelltown train station in 1973, a young Aboriginal girl was handed over to her hopeful new white foster parents, Mac and Connie. There was no paperwork. There were no questions.

Brenda settled into her new family, her new life. She became inseparable from her white foster sister, and for five years, she grew up happy. Until, one day, her parents were forced to give her back – to the family she was originally taken from.

Now, as an adult, Brenda has fragmented memories of a little white sister, but she can’t put the pieces together. She feels torn between two worlds: “I felt like I was acting white. I didn’t know what it meant to be Aboriginal.”

When Brenda started going to cultural camps on the Gold Coast (designed to help people experience a deeper connection with the land and with Aboriginal culture) she met and eventually married Mark (a white man).

For the first time, she speaks about her experience as a child of the Stolen Generation. From that moment, everything changes. Brenda has always had unspoken questions about her past, but now she starts looking for answers.

A politician on camp tells her about their new Stolen Generation compensation scheme… but is stunned to hear that Brenda was removed years after the Child Welfare Board was disbanded in 1969. If she’s not classified as Stolen Generation, then who is she?

So, in order to put her identity back together, she embarks on a journey to track down her white foster family, whom she hasn’t seen for 40 years. In doing so, she uncovers long buried secrets, government lies, and opens old wounds. Particularly for her biological mother, Nana Brenda. Decades on, she (Nana Brenda) still feels the pain of the day her seven children were taken away from her, and the lies told to justify it.

The Last Daughter follows Brenda on her journey to uncover the truth about her past, and to reconcile the two halves of her family. We discover the intersecting worlds of Aboriginal and White Australia through the eyes of someone trying to heal from their past, by uncovering their story.