Under a Bilari Tree I Born


FISH - Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health

Alice Bilari Smith lived in the Pilbara, on stations and in the bush, on government reserves and in towns. Narrowly avoiding removal from her family by ‘the Welfare’, life on the stations taught her to cook and launder, sew and clean, shoe horses, chop wood and milk cows.

As a young married woman she added mustering, dingo scalping, shearers’ assistant and sheep-yard building to her skills. Alice also grew up in the ways of her country, hunting, cooking and building in the traditional manner.

As well as a large family of her own, Alice played an active role in caring for other Aboriginal children and initiated the establishment of a Homemakers Centre in Roebourne. This is Alice’s insightful and inspiring story – the story of a life that is remarkable and yet typical of Australia’s strong country women.

‘... an evocative and powerful Aboriginal voice.’ Aboriginal History

‘The description of Alice’s life in overlapping Aboriginal and European worlds provides ... a unique view of how this Aboriginal woman lived and survived in each.’ JAS Review of Books

‘... a splendid piece of Indigenous oral history.’ Canberra Times

‘... a fascinating insight on an indigenous life lived between the black and white worlds of the North-West.’ The West Australian

'Alice's story captures a vital part of Australia's history and is essential reading for secondary students who want to gain a deeper understanding of the life and experiences of Aboriginal women living in Australia.' Australian Teacher

Authors Alice Bilari Smith, Anna Vitenbergs, and Loreen Brehaut


Pages 236