In July 2020, Indigenous residents of the remote central Australian community of Laramba lost their case in the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal. For decades, the water that flowed through the taps into Laramba homes had been contaminated with high levels of uranium – about three times the safe limit. The case was a desperate attempt to force the government to assume legal responsibility and to fix the problem. They didn’t succeed: the Tribunal found that the Department of Housing (as the landlord) wasn’t required under Northern Territory law to provide safe drinking water to its tenants.
In Richard Beasley’s third novel, a friendship between three boys ends violently, and one of them is tragically implicated. The lives of the young teenagers – Jake, Robbie, and Rory – are filled out with street football, driveway cricket, billycarts, fishing trips, slingshot target practice, and the comedy of flatulence. Their world is Rose Avenue during the Adelaide summer of 1977.