James Isdell was Protector of Aborigines in Western Australia in the first decade of the twentieth century. Commenting on the forcible removal of Aboriginal children of mixed blood from their parents, he said that he ‘would not hesitate for one moment to separate any half-caste from its Aboriginal mother, no matter how frantic her momentary grief might be at the time. They soon forget their offspring.’ When I read this in Bringing Them Home, the report on the ‘stolen children’, I was reminded of a woman I knew when she was grieving over her recendy dead child. I shall call her M.