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The exile of the Indigenous population of Hope Valley – in the coastal region of Cape York in far north Queensland – during World War II is a shameful yet seldom-told chapter in Indigenous Australian history. Roy McIvor was just 10 when he, his family and his community were rounded up by the military and shipped 1500 km south to Woorabinda because of allegations that his people were collaborating with the Japanese under the guidance of German Lutheran Missionary George Heinrich Schwarz. Roy’s community was deserted by the authorities and more than a third of them perished during their seven-year exile. They were decimated by disease amid rumours of deaths by lethal injections and medical experimentation. Cockatoo: My Life in Cape York is an inspirational story of how Roy and his people triumphed over the hardships to which they were subjected, and their eventual return to their country now known as Hope Vale. Throughout his life, art has been a guiding light. Today Roy is recognised as one of Cape York’s leading Indigenous artists and Cockatoo: My Life in Cape York features full-colour reproductions of his work.
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