Tribute to Alice Smith

Fremantle Press sends its condolences to the family and friends of Alice Smith. Alice was the co-author of Under a Bilari Tree I Born; a moving autobiographical story of her life as an Aboriginal woman living on stations in and around the West Pilbara.

Born in 1923, Alice was raised in a traditional hunter-gatherer family and married in the traditional Aboriginal way while living within the boundaries of European-run stations.

Reviewer Christine Choo said of her book; “The description of Alice’s life in overlapping Aboriginal and European worlds provides the reader with a unique view of how this Aboriginal woman lived and survived in both worlds, an experience common to generations of Aboriginal people on station country.”

Co-authors Anna Vitenbergs and Loreen Brehaut said; “Alice was a generous and open-hearted woman who was eager to share her story and her deep knowledge with the wider community. It was a great privilege to work with her on her project, and we were constantly inspired by the strength and courage she showed throughout her long life. While preferring traditional life in many respects herself, she and her husband Jack appreciated the need for their children to have schooling and adapt to modern life. Her family was kept safe and together and grew up to become outstanding members in the community and a lasting credit to their mother. We both mourn her loss.”

Alice was well known in the Roebourne Community for her generosity, fostering numerous children and devoting much of her energy to the service of the Pilbara’s youth. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her.

This information was written and distributed with permission from Alice Smith’s family.

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