Gulf country

It?s May 14. Our lantern has run out of batteries, so I?m writing this in the amenities shelter in the campground at Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park. I?m writing on lined paper in a fine blue pen and I have to stop every couple of words to brush the moths off the page and pick… Continue reading Gulf country

Strange birds

It was late afternoon. The houses, so sprawling and airy they could hardly be considered ?indoors?, spread in a lazy curve around the oval. Football posts peeling scabbed white paint stood in the bleached grass at either end. As I walked across the oval to the schoolhouse, the sun stretched long fingers across the floodplains… Continue reading Strange birds

Just some rocks

A few months ago, I was hanging out at a pub in the High Country. I asked the publican?s wife (a good friend of my Dad?s) what she knew about the local Aboriginal people. ?Nah, no Aboriginal people up here,? she said. ?What do you mean?? I asked. ?Too cold for ?em up here. Read… Continue reading Just some rocks

Inheritance

What troubles me most is an attitude of mind that could come to prevail amongst white Australians: a feeling of irritation apparently based on a conviction that we are saddled with the responsibility for problems not really of our making, and by their nature probably insoluble. (W.E.H. Stanner, 1978) It?s the evening of Tuesday, February… Continue reading Inheritance

Eat yourself

There?s a moment in the film Samson and Delilah where Delilah, destitute and desperate, attempts to sell a painting. She timidly proffers the canvas to people eating outside at a cafe in an Alice Springs mall. Some of them ignore her; others shake their heads dismissively and go back to their conversations. A couple of… Continue reading Eat yourself