AustLit logo
image of person or book cover 7920798091534145717.png
Courtesy of the author.
Lorraine McGee-Sippel Lorraine McGee-Sippel i(A32497 works by) (a.k.a. Lorraine Sippel)
Born: Established: 1943 Sydney, New South Wales, ;
Gender: Female
Heritage: Aboriginal ; Aboriginal Yorta Yorta / Yota Yota ; Aboriginal Wemba Wemba
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


McGee-Sippel poet and best-selling author is of Aboriginal Wemba Wemba, Aboriginal Yorta Yorta and Anglo Celtic background . She was separated from her Aboriginal mother shortly after birth and was adopted at six weeks of age by a non-Indigenous family. Her writing is in response to the pain she felt from not knowing her family and true cultural identity. She met her biological mother and family for the first time in 1981.

A registered nurse and midwife McGee-Sippel was caring for relinquishing mothers and those with sick, premature and stillborn babies at St Margaret's Women's Hospital, Darlinghurst, Sydney, while searching for her own mother. Following the untimely death of a much loved younger sister, in 1991, and a series of close family deaths, her words began pouring out, in the form of poetry.

Needing a career change and wanting to learn more about her cultural roots, Lorraine decided to do an Associate Diploma in Adult Education (Koori Education) 1992/3 at the University of Technology (UTS), Sydney. In 1994, she began a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, majoring in Aboriginal Studies and Writing, but the need to write her own story was strong, so in 1995 she left the University of Technology and began writing her autobiography, as well as becoming involved with Aboriginal Reconciliation, human rights and social justice issues.

McGree-Sippel was co-founder of Lane Cove Residents for Reconciliation, She has read her work at the State Library of New South Wales, the New South Wales Writers' Centre, Reconciliation meetings and various community gatherings, as well as on Koori Radio, (93.7 FM), and AWAYE (Radio National). In 2001, her manuscript/autobiography, 'The Best Part' was shorlisted for The Varuna Awards For Manuscript Development.

McGee-Sippel's story was recorded by the National Library of Australia for the Bringing Them Home Oral History Project and appeared in the associated publication Many Voices: Reflections on Experiences of Indigenous Child Separation, edited by Doreen Mellor and Anna Haebich (2002).

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Hey Mum, What's a Half-Caste? Broome : Magabala Books , 2009 Z1585948 2009 single work autobiography

'Lorraine McGee-Sippel was just a small girl when she asked her parents what a half-caste was. It was the 1950s and the first step on a journey that would span decades and lead her to search for her birth family.

'In the historic climate of the Rudd Government's Apology, McGee-Sippel aligns herself with the Stolen Generations as she reveals the far-reaching effects of a government policy that saw her adoptive parents being told their daughter was of Afro-American descent.

'This is not just a story of displacement, but an honest telling that explores the fragility of reconnection, cultural identity, and the triumphs of acceptance.' (Publisher's blurb)

2010 shortlisted Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Prize for Indigenous Writing
2010 shortlisted Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Australian Biography of the Year
2009 winner Deadly Sounds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music, Sport, Entertainment and Community Awards Outstanding Achievement in Literature
2007 shortlisted Queensland Literary Awards Unpublished Indigenous Writer : David Unaipon Award
2006 shortlisted Queensland Literary Awards Unpublished Indigenous Writer : David Unaipon Award
Last amended 3 Dec 2014 09:02:34
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: