Kim Mahood

Into the Loneliness is the story of two Australian women, opposites in temperament, who eschewed the conventional roles expected of women of their eras, lived unconventional lives, and produced books that influenced the culture and imagination of twentieth-century Australia. The book focuses on their complicated friendship, and on Ernestine Hill’s role in assisting Daisy Bates to produce the manuscript that was published in 1938 as The Passing of the Aborigines, which became a bestseller in Australia and Britain. Hill, a successful and popular journalist, organised the anthropological material and ghost-wrote much of the book, for which Bates privately expressed her gratitude, while not acknowledging it publicly.

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Tjanimaku Tjukurpa: How one young man came good by the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council

by
January–February 2021, no. 428

At first glance, the slender paperback, with its cover drawing of dark-skinned men and boys, looks like a conventional illustrated children’s book. A few pages in, it’s clear that Tjanimaku Tjukurpa is something else. The version I have is in Pitjantjatjara and English. There is also an edition in Ngaanyatjarra and English. To anyone familiar with remote Aboriginal communities, the illustrations vibrate with authenticity – the landscape, the buildings, the cars, the appearance and demeanour of the people. This is a story embedded in the reality of community life. Told through the eyes of a concerned grandfather, it is a narrative played out in various iterations across the Indigenous world.

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ABR asked a few colleagues and contributors to nominate some books that have beguiled them – might even speak to others – at this unusual time.

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If you google the words ‘Night Parrot’, they come up with a companion set of adjectives, the most common being ‘elusive’, followed by ‘mysterious’, ‘secretive’, ‘enigmatic’, ‘mythical’, and, until recently, ‘thought-to-be-extinct’. Apart from anecdotal claims, there were no confirmed sightings of the Night Parrot from 1912, when one was captured and shot, until a dead parrot was found by a roadside in 1990 and a live bird was photographed by naturalist John Young in Western Queensland in 2013. Controversy, compromised reputations, and accusations of faked evidence followed the re-emergence

 

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In Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering ancient Australia, Billy Griffiths describes the process of imagining the past through the traces and sediments of archaeology as ‘an act of wonder – a dilation of the commonplace – that challenges us to infer meaning from the cryptic residue of former worlds’. In his endeavour to infer ...

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To complement our coverage of new books on the subject, we invited a number of writers, scholars, and environmentalists to nominate the books that have had the greatest effect on them from an environmental point of view.

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There’s no single film I could claim as favourite – among the films I’ve loved are The Royal Tenenbaums, Lost in Translation, Beetlejuice, Birdman, Blue Velvet, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Apocalypse Now, Doctor Strangelove, and All About Eve.

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At the bottom of one of Kim Mahood's desert watercolours, she scrawled, 'In the gap between two ways of seeing, the risk is that you see nothing clearly.' A risk for ...

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Later, Katherine seemed to remember a run of light around the box, the way desert air shimmers on the horizon. What she did remember clearly were the two women walking, flat-footed and rolling-hipped, dark limbs like animated hieroglyphs inscribing the space through which they moved, an inflated plastic bag capering at their heels like a family pet. It was one ...

Sunday morning at Balgo in the Kimberley, the wind ripping past in a cold gale of dust and smoke. Wirrimanu, the name of this place, means ‘dirty wind’. White plastic shopping bags pulse and inflate, struggling against the twigs and wire that restrain them. My view down the magnificent plunge of the pound is intercepted by the gridded weld-mesh cage enclosing the verandah, and again by the three-metre-high cyclone mesh fence surrounding the compound. An insufficient barrier, as it turns out, to the entry of determined petrol sniffers. They have been in during the night and have opened all the jerry cans in the back of my car. Slippers, the dog who sleeps in the tray, has clearly made them welcome. I am carrying only diesel and water, and the sniffers have taken nothing, leaving a small stone on the lid of the toolbox as a gesture of – what? – irony, defiance, humour?

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