Alone on the soaks: the life and times of Alec Kruger


As a child I had no mother’s arms to hold me. No father to lead me into the world. Us taken-away kids only had each other. All of us damaged and too young to know what to do. We had strangers standing over us. Many of us grew up hard and tough. Others were explosive and angry. A lot grew up just struggling to cope at all.

They found their peace in other institutions or alcohol. Most of us learnt how to occupy a small space and avoid anything that looked like trouble. We had few ideas about relationships.

No one showed us how to be lovers or parents. How to feel safe loving someone when that risked them being taken away and leaving us alone again. Alec Kruger was stolen as a child from his family and his country.

From this early time he knew the cold and harsh reality of institutions and not the caressing love of his mother or the warmth of other close relations. Still young, he was taken again, to the cattle stations of Central Australia where, even as a boy, he was expected to display all the independence and ingenuity of someone much older.

In isolation, Alec faced possible death, till the arrival of Old People from country who saved him, taught him and made him culturally strong.

Winner 2007 Arts Non-Fiction Award, Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission

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Weight .626 kg


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by Alec Kruger and Gerard Waterford

342 pages Paperback