James Moloney Gracy

Gracey is the second in James Moloney’s contemporary trilogy that deals with a range of issues facing Aboriginal society. In this text, Gracey finds herself confused about her identity, caught between the worlds of her Aboriginal background and the Anglo-Saxon environment of her exclusive boarding school. Gracey’s family has recently relocated to the outback town of Cunningham, however she feels estranged from the community.

Gracey’s school friend, Angela, has come to visit and seems intrigued by Cunningham, however Gracey is impatient and embarrassed by her home. Intolerant of younger brother Dougy and the prospect of becoming yet another single Aboriginal mother in Cunningham, she is eager to return to Brisbane. Gracey lives and acts ‘white’. Dougy meanwhile uncovers a mass grave of aboriginal bones in the small town, prompting an outrage by the local black community.

They wish to reclaim the land and demand answers surrounding the death of these men. Gracey too becomes enthralled by the mystery, researching mass killings of Aborigines. She is shocked by her discoveries but becomes impassioned for the first time about her people and her heritage. When Gracey’s mother dies, she returns home to Cunningham and assumes the matriarchal role, taking care of her two brothers. Raymond, her older alcoholic brother, drinks all of his social security money, leaving the family penniless.

He is aggressive and lost. Dougy has also become more apathetic, spending much of his time roaming the town foraging through rubbish. As a result of the discovery of the mass grave, the Aborigines in Cunningham participate in a protest march which results in Raymond and Dougy being thrown into the watch house overnight. This is Dougy’s first brush with the law, however Raymond has spent many nights in the town jail. Despondent and depressed about his future, Raymond hangs himself in his cell.

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