Valda Gee is a descendant of Manalargenna who was the leader of the Trawlwoolway people in the Cape Portland area of north-east Tasmania. Gee, with her daughter, was the one who discovered their Indigenous heritage after researching their family history. She was not free to acknowledge her Indigenous heritage until the death of her father in 1985.
Gee enrolled at the university at the age of fifty-eight. She completed the Aboriginal Bridging course in Launceston at the University of Tasmania and after four years of study she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Aboriginal Studies, History and English Literature. She was the first Aboriginal woman in 1992 to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree, through the bridging program at Riawunna, University of Tasmania.
Gee was asked by her sister, Rosalie Medcraft, to help complete a manuscript on their family childhood as a way of passing down their family history. The sisters originally wrote this manuscript, The Sausage Tree, in longhand.
(Source: The Sausage Tree, Medcraft, R. & Gee, V., University of Queensland Press, 1995)
The Sausage Tree1995single work life story The title The Sausage Tree, celebrates the authors' favourite childhood game. 'This memoir tells of the sisters' childhood spent during the Depression in small-town Tasmania. For the family of nine, thrift was a virtue and home-grown food and hand-made clothing were a necessity. In later years, they learned of their Aboriginal heritage as descendants of Manalargenna, leader of the Trawlwoolway people of Cape Portland in north-east Tasmania.' (Source: Publisher's blurb)