Cilka was born in 1939 in Dolenjska region of Slovenia. In 1960 she completed the Teachers College in Celje. In 1963 she came to Australia and in years 1965 to 2000 has taught in Australian schools. She taught adult as well, mainly migrants. She completed Bachelor of Education Degree at the Perth University. She specialised in cultural bonds and has dedicated her work to the indigenous people, the Australian Aborigines. When her husband decided to take up opal mining in Lightning Ridge, NSW, she agreed to move to the bush. In 1968 she began teaching Aboriginal students from Lightning Ridge and Walgett and her involvement with Aboriginal families and communities stemmed from her role in education, then grew into her involvement in the compiling, editing and publication of Aboriginal narratives. She collected and published their legends and some poems. She wrote of their culture and traditions. Cilka prepared a dictionary of Aboriginal words. At the same university she later completed the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology.
Her book Growing up Walgett tells us of the life of Aborigines and of her students, was selected for a compulsory reading for Australian High Schools.
Cilka wrote many stories, many of them the stories of Slovenian migrants, and two published books of poems in English language. The Historical Society has published two of her books dealing with life’s of the black opal the miners.
I search for a hiding place
by Cilka Žagar
Poems in English – read more here
GROWING UP WALGETT, documentary prose, 1990
National Library of Austtralia – Trove