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John Baxter was born in Robinvale and was removed from his parents at two weeks of age. Having suffered cerebral palsy at birth, he was sent to the Royal Children’s Hospital and then made a Ward of the State aged one. After stints in various baby’s homes he was placed with a remarkable foster mother, Margaret, who provided him with the best childhood she could. Still, John always felt a powerful longing to be connected to his birth family and as a teenager strove to make that happen, despite being actively discouraged by the government department responsible for his welfare.
Thus began a life-long mission to connect with his extended family, to document his story for other family members and to participate in and contribute to the greater Aboriginal community. ‘To see family for the first time, to hold them, not just have the connection through a photo or a letter. To get that acceptance …’
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