The Road 6f - The 'Walkabout' Narrative


The ‘Walkabout’ Narrative

‘We know that somebody has killed her…She hasn’t just done a runner or gone walkabout.’

Margaret, Cheryl Ardler’s sister

‘I kept arguing with them and saying to them Evelyn didn’t go walkabout, she’s a four-year-old kid.’

Aunty of Evelyn Greenup

‘On that day we went to the police station and they turned around and said to mum and myself, ‘Oh, did she go walkabout?’ That was their reaction. We thought they were supposed to be there to help us and we didn’t get the help.’

Rose Griffin, Colleen Walker’s Sister


‘They really didn’t care about a missing Aboriginal woman. They thought she had gone off with a man or gone walkabout.’

Rhoda Roberts, Lois Robert’s sister

A pattern becomes evident as attempts by families of missing Aboriginal women and girls to report their concerns to authorities. The families are met with disbelief, suspicion, indifference or a refusal to take them seriously.  Several families report police suggestions that their loved ones had just ‘gone walkabout’ and would turn up eventually. Police reluctance to act resulted in vital delays in filing missing persons reports and led to poor investigation processes that left families struggling for decades, as in the case of  the Bowraville children. In some cases, relatives of missing women describe being treated as suspects themselves rather than as families trying to locate their daughters and sisters.


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