Lousy Little Sixpence


When Lousy Little Sixpence was first screened it caused shock and disbelief in Australia because viewers couldn't believe what they were seeing.

Lousy Little Sixpence tells the story of five children, now Elders and representatives for an entire generation, who were stolen from their families by the Australian government to turn them into unpaid servants for white families.

The documentary uses old newsreels, archive film, photographs (most of which has never been shown before) and bleak, simple interviews which show that healing from such horrendous treatment will not be easy.

The title 'Lousy Little Sixpence' refers to the amount of pocket money the indentured workers were supposed to be given - but never received - while their wages were managed by their 'employers', on behalf of the Aborigines Protection Board.

Lousy Little Sixpence is an influential film in highlighting the injustice of stolen wages, and the fight for the rightful payment to be made to Indigenous peoples of that generation or their families.

[A] lot of little girls died at Cootamundra. And that was run by the Aborigines Protection Board, you know, protecting Aborigines. But they were sending them out to work for sixpence a week. That's what my sisters got, sixpence a week.

— Geraldine Briggs, Stolen Generations survivor

We were accused of fabricating the evidence.

— Gerry Bostock, producer

There was a hunger [in 1983] in the wider community to learn more about Aboriginal people, as nothing was out there.

— Alec Morgan, producer

Watch Lousy Little Sixpence

The movie is available on YouTube in four 15-minute parts.

Part 2/4

Part 3/4

Part 4/4


Chicka Dixon - narrator
Geraldine Briggs - stolen child
Flo Caldwell - stolen child
Bill Reid - stolen child
Violet Shaw - stolen child
Margaret Tucker - stolen child
Release dates
1983 - Australia
G - general
Ronin Films

Lousy Little Sixpence tells the story chronologically from 1901, when the NSW Aborigines Protection Board decided to take children away, to the mid-1930s, the Aboriginal people began to organise, and to fight the Board.

The system of removing children persisted up to the late 1970s, meaning the painful memories are still carried by survivors and their families today.

Lousy Little Sixpence took three years to research and produce .

Philip Noyce's film Rabbit Proof Fence was influenced by Lousy Little Sixpence.

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View article sources (2)

[1] 'It was just getting dark', Geraldine Briggs, p.162 (her emphasis)
[2] [2a] [2b] '25 years on, classic film still shocks', Koori Mail 437 p.34

Cite this page

Korff, J 2021, Lousy Little Sixpence, <>, retrieved 25 July 2024

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