I spent 15 years as a street youth worker, and have written a book of real interviews about young people, street kids, and families in crisis.
Sometimes things happen that change your life, the discovery of an old set of diaries certainly changed mine. Anne wrote these diaries as often as she was able. Sometimes freezing cold, ill, and sometimes in searing heat, but nearly always bone tired. She had the courage and fortitude to sit and do this.
Realising we had a major piece of women’s history temporarily in our safekeeping, meant we also had the responsibility to ensure generations of young Australians had the chance to pay their respects. Australia has a handful of remembered heroes and thousands that lie quietly, gently embraced by the earth in lands faraway. They might lie quietly but we have most certainly never forgotten them.
John Simpson Kirkpatrick and Ernest Edward “weary” Dunlop share a special place within our Australian cultural identity. After working on her diaries we realised Anne Donnell’s place a century later is standing as an equal, shoulder to shoulder with the best this country has ever been able to offer. Anne stood up and quietly went about her chosen role with a spiritual dignity and a deep sense of personal commitment, I for one will never forget that she chose to do this.
We understood early on that these diaries needed accurate transcription before we could do anything else. It has been my pleasure and deep personal honour to work closely with this heroic Australian woman. Because we focus on a few, does not mean we overlook the many. Just the opposite, and just the way Anne would want it.
Many thanks to Jan for her integrity and commitment, ensuring Anne is remembered and also many thanks to Dev for this site. Again the honour is mine. Please add information and stories to this site as you find them, it is for all of us.