Tehran, April 1987: Going Under - Descending in a stream of arpeggio broken chords: as we moved through night and the vernal air down into the green earth, my mother thought she heard a ch More
It is quiet and cool and dark blue. At this depth the pressure on my body is double what it is at the surface: my heartbeat has slowed, blood has started to withdraw from my extremities an More
The history of my onomastic apprehension and misapprehension about the big thing in the middle of Australia: It is called Ayers Rock. No, it is ...More
In 2013 we published Martin Thomas's Calibre Prize-winning essay ‘“Because it’s your country”: Bringing Back the Bones to West Arnhem Land'. This powerful story of the repatri More
During a lull in the fiercest weather event the south-east of the continent has seen in thirty years – we call them ‘events’ these days, as though someone’s putting them on – I went out on a Sunday morning and bought myself a book.
I should tell you that we live on an acre in the country one hundred and t ... More
I am at the exhibition ‘National Treasures from Australia’s Great Libraries’. I have come to see a picture of a man named Bungaree. I am standing in front of him, but I am distanced. The painting is glazed, low-lit, hung on a wall on the far side of quite a deep display case. If I stand up straight he is in focus, but too far away for me to see the details. As ... More
Odd to start by quoting P.G. Wodehouse: ‘She was a girl with a wonderful profile, but steeped to the gills in serious purpose.’ Bertie Wooster is complaining, in ‘Jeeves Takes Charge’1, about Honoria Glossop, who has forced upon him ‘Types of Ethical Theory’. ‘Odd’ because anyone steeped to the gills i ... More
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922)
For what it is worth, my own view is that in contemporary Australia the dialectical quest for truth about the indigenous culture, by open argument and counter-argument, is no less important ... More