Kim Mahood

In Telling Tennant’s Story, Dean Ashenden gives a lucid, succinct, eminently readable account of the reasons why Australia as a nation continues to struggle with how to acknowledge and move beyond its past. Travelling north to visit Tennant Creek for the first time since leaving it as a boy in 1955, Ashenden is provoked to question the absence of shared histories on the monuments and tourist information boards along the route. Mostly, the signs record pioneer history, from which the Indigenous people are absent. When the Indigenous story is invoked, it records traditional practices and does not mention white people. ‘How did they get from then to now?’ he muses. ‘Just don’t mention the war.’

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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 ...

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