Author(s): Noel Beddoe
'What has happened to her would have destroyed many people. She hasn't survived, she's triumphed.' - Ross Fitzgerald In a small Riverina township in the 1950s, an unmarried white woman entered hospital to give birth. Her baby was Aboriginal; the father chose to remain unknown. The young mother checked herself out as soon as she could, leaving her newborn daughter behind. For Linda Burney, life began tough in the tiny NSW township of Whitton. Her birth had been a scandal and caused her to be mocked and reviled by some - yet she was also loved by the elderly relatives who had adopted her and quickly won friends and admiration. From these humble beginnings in country NSW, Linda grew to become a successful teacher, then a leader in a vital community organization, an inspiring political leader, Director General of a state department, and was an outstandingly successful minister in NSW government while her party crumbled around her. But while her professional life flourished, her personal world imploded, a victim of prolonged domestic violence, left unsupported to bring-up two children.
Finally, the tragic illness and death of the man she has called 'the love of my life' and the debilitating illness of a child have not diminished her capacity for friendship, loyalty, and generosity. This is the story of a woman who has overcome extraordinary adversity to become a great leader in the Australian community, described by the author as 'the most remarkable woman I've ever met'.