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Stan Grant Talks About What It Was Like Growing Up As An Aboriginal Boy In Regional Australia

"I lost the joy of living."

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Indigenous journalist Stan Grant has spoken candidly about growing up terrified of being removed from his family by the government because of his Aboriginality.


"We were always afraid of the welfare, always. They would come to our school, they would check through our bags to see what food we had. They’d come into your house and check what food your parents had," Grant tells Julia Zemiro on an upcoming episode of the ABC series Home Delivery.

Speaking about his childhood in a housing commission home in Griffith in regional NSW, Grant says that he and his three siblings lived in constant fear.

"It traumatised us. It was extremely traumatic and I used to come home and look down the street and if there was a white car in the street - because they were cars the welfare men drove - I wouldn’t come home. I’d hide out until dark and creep in after dark".

"This was back in the seventies before there was an awareness of the Stolen Generations. We were living it, we were living the Stolen Generations," Grant tells Zemiro.

Earlier this year a searing and powerful speech delivered by Grant during a debate on racism went viral and sparked a national debate around race relations in Australia.

View this video on YouTube

Grant, who has spent the past several years living overseas and reporting in war zones for CNN, tells Zemiro that he decided to return to Australia to confront the trauma of his past and to advocate for Indigenous people.

"There was a deep, deep depression and despair. Despair at the world I was reporting on but also a despair and depression that came from where I’d grown up and what I’d seen and experienced and what my family had seen and experienced".

"When it all came crashing down it absolutely floored me," Grant says.

"I just absolutely hit the wall with it, it was like my past and what I was doing overseas collided and there was this moment of extraordinary anxiety, a feeling of just completely strung out. I lost the joy of living".

Since returning Grant has spoken about pursuing a career in politics, although he is unsure which party he would run for.


"It does [appeal to me] because how do we deal with this [divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous] unless we are involved with the solutions, we are involved at the coalface where the policies are made. We have never had significant representation in our federal parliament," Grant told the ABC.

"I haven’t decided [which party to join], I’ve talked to all sides. I want to look at what I can do to make a difference and if I can do it to make a difference before I even decide where I sit," Grant says.

Home Delivery airs this Wednesday on the ABC.

Formerly with BuzzFeed News, Allan Clarke is a NITV reporter based in Sydney.

Contact Allan Clarke at

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