Clare, Monica

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South Coast Illawarra (Australian Aboriginal) writer and civil righs activist

Clare was born in Dareel, Queensland, to an English mother and an Aboriginal shearer, Beatrice Scott and Ron McGowan. Her mother died in childbirth when she was seven years old and she and her younger brother were then forcibly taken from their father as "neglected" (see Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children) and sent to an institution in Sydney. They were eventually fostered by a loving brother and sister on a farm, but the government moved them again, separating the children, in 1935. She never saw her brother again. Her father's and brother's attempts to contact her were unsuccessful.

She became an Aboriginal rights activist and wrote an autobiographical novel about her childhood, possibly the first novel by an Aboriginal woman. She was married twice and had born-to and two adopted children.


Clare, Monica. Karobran: The Story of an Aboriginal Girl, edited by Jack Horner. (Chippendale: Alternative Publishing, 1978)
"Clare, Monica (1924-1973)." Available at:
Australian Dictionary of Biography, general editor John Ritchie. (Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 1993). Vol. 13: 1940-1980


Australian Aboriginal
20th Century
Civil Rights, Advocacy
Adoptees/fosterees Who Are/were Also Adopters or Foster Parents
Formal, American/European-Type Fostering
School-age Years, Adolescence
Child Removed from Home by Social Services
Government Policy, Assimilation
Others ("Strangers")
Trans-Racial, Trans-Tribal, International or Trans-Cultural Adoption or Fostering
Institutional Care
Parent(s) Died, Disappeared or Became Incapacitated
Birth Siblings Placed Together
Birth Sibling(s) Separated
Tracing Impossible or Birth Family Extinct
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