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The bittersweet reason many Aboriginal women just celebrated their birthday

On July 1 many indigenous Australians celebrate their birthday. Yet few know how old they are

Teresa Roe celebrated her birthday on the weekend. But she doesn’t know how old she is.

Like many indigenous Australians, Roe celebrates her birthday on July 1.

This is because she, like many other Aboriginal people, was assigned that date by authorities. 

It’s estimated that up to one-quarter of all Aboriginal children born before 1967 were told – usually when being rounded up and sent to missions – their birthday would be July 1.

When Roe was relocated from the bush to Broome so she could attend school, missionaries recorded her birthday as July 1, 1932. At a party held at the Kimberley Stolen Generation Centre on Friday, Ms Roe was genuinely surprised when birthday cake was brought out. “I never had one in my day when I was growing up,” she told the ABC. “It’ll be the first cake for my birthday.”

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