Sister Eileen leads an outdoor Sunday School at Moore River. Cissie and Topsy sit with other Aboriginal children as Sister Eileen tells the story of the Three Wise Men.
Historically, at places like Moore River, Aboriginal children were educated in a Western style. Officials hoped they could be raised as culturally white Australians, as opposed to as Aboriginal Australians.
In the background, as Sister Eileen teaches, David enters the stage. Billy comes behind him and grabs his shoulder. David was skipping class to go swimming, and Billy whips his legs as punishment. Cissie sees this and calls out to Sister Eileen, before getting up and running to defend her brother. She picks up a rock and prepares to throw it, but Sister Eileen chases after her and grabs her arm.
Billy has reacted to the trauma of colonial oppression by doing his best to assimilate. This has included adopting the attitudes of his white superiors. He uses the same violent tactics on Aboriginal children as Neal does, demonstrating his internalized racism and self-hatred.
Sister Eileen chastises Billy for beating David. Although David was cutting class, she tells Billy “we don’t hit people to make them do God’s will.” Billy leaves, and Sister Eileen makes sure David is not hurt. She reminds him that “in one way it’s your own fault,” because had he been at Sunday School Billy would not have beat him. Sister Eileen returns to her class and continues the story of the Three Wise Men and Jesus’s early life. When she finishes, she passes out hymn sheets and the class practices singing “There is a happy land,” in preparation for Australia Day.
Although Sister Eileen helps save David, she is patronizing. She tells him it is his own fault for skipping class, although he did not ask to be enrolled in Sunday school, nor did he ask to be transported to Moore River. Sister Eileen assumes Christianity is better for the children, but that is a personal bias that overlooks the value of Aboriginal culture.