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Title: Nancy Gibbs
Date of Birth: 1928-01-28
Place of Birth: Katherine
Cultural heritage: Indigenous Australian
Occupation: Nurse
Communications operator
Biographical notes: Nancy was a child of the "Stolen Generation", born at Tanumbirini Station. Her mother Lilian Maria from the Tanami Desert and her father Joseph Hans Croft (Hans) was German. Nancy was taken from her family at the age of 3 and sent to the Kahlin Home. There she was named Nancy, which her father was allowed to choose for her. When she was 5 her mother visited her but the manager wouldn't let her into the home and she was not allowed to speak in her native tongue only English which she was able to do, it was devastating for Nancy and her mother. Hans worked in Darwin and would often visit Nancy at the home, taking her out ignoring the authorities. She was an intelligent girl and the Kahlin home authorities wanted to send her to a boarding school until they discovered she had leprosy, her father left Darwin and returned to Germany and she was sent to the Leprosarium on Channel Island. Nancy discovered that her mother was also a patient there, sadly her mother left and that was the last time she saw her.
While at the leprosarium she would help staff with patients and trained as a nurse and Jack Jones who managed the communications also taught Nancy morse code so she could send messages, order medical and food supplies in his absence. When the Japanese bombed Darwin an American officer took her morse code machine, she then sent messages by torch to Darwin. When Jack and Elsie Jones left Channel Island in 1944 Nancy took over the communications role. Nancy was given a certificate of recognition for her contribution to the war effort in 1955. While at the leprosarium she met Jack Gibbs, although they never married, they were together for 48 years. After they left the leprosarium and travelled around the Territory. Jack died in the April 1996 Jack and Nancy moved into Juninga in 2005.
Related link: Collins, Hilary 2008, Nancy's story, Nancy Gibbs, Darwin
Subject: Women
Northern Territory
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Appears in Collections:Territory Women

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