'The legendary Indigenous activist ‘Tracker’ Tilmouth died in Darwin in 2015. Taken from his family as a child and brought up on a mission on Croker Island, he returned home to transform the world of Aboriginal politics. He worked tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination, creating opportunities for land use and economic development in his many roles, including Director of the Central Land Council. He was a visionary and a projector of ideas, renowned for his irreverent humour and his colourful anecdotes. The memoir was composed by Wright from interviews with Tracker before he died, as well as with his family, friends and colleagues, weaving his and their stories together into a book that is as much a tribute to the role played by storytelling in contemporary Aboriginal life as it is to the legacy of a remarkable man.' (Publication summary)
A memoir in story form.
Dedication: For the Tilmouth family.
'I thought I would begin this talk about the power and purpose of literature by talking about my 1998 book Take Power. The title came from a Gurindji Elder while telling the story of the ten-year battle his people fought against Vestey’s, a British pastoral company that owned the Wave Hill pastoral property in the north-west of the Northern Territory, when in 1966, 200 Gurindji, the traditional landowners, walked off the cattle station where they worked on their stolen lands because of the harsh treatment they were receiving from the management of the pastoral property. Vincent Lingiari, who led his people off Wave Hill, said: ‘We can’t go back to that Vestey’s. Vestey’s been treating me like a walagu (dog). Make mefella worry.’ The Gurindji kept telling their story straight, and eventually they achieved land rights over part of their traditional lands.' (Introduction)
'In Tracker (winner of the 2018 Stella Prize), hundreds of stories are told to build up the portrait of an immensely complex and gifted man.' (Introduction)
'"How do you tell an impossible story, one that is almost too big to contain in a single book?"
'This is the opening line of Alexis Wright's book Tracker, which has won the 2018 Stella Prize for Australian women's writing.' (Introduction)
'Alexis Wright is a master storyteller. The power of her writing derives not only from her capacity to conjure words into spellbinding tales but from the troubled thinking she brings to bear on narrative forms themselves. Wright has an incisive grasp of storytelling as a primary vehicle of political power and its potential transformation. Who has the right to tell a story? This question, so simple on the face of it, simultaneously invokes the ethical basis of Aboriginal society as well as the settler-colonial hubris that legitimises dispossession and locates authority elsewhere.' (Introduction)
'Writing the story of her friend Tracker Tilmouth was not only a labour of love for Waanyi woman Alexis Wright, she also knew she had to honour Aboriginal ways of storytelling.' (Introduction)
'Leigh Bruce “Tracker” Tilmouth was one of those figures so larger-than-life that only the vast spaces of the Top End could contain him. His early story was drearily, tragically, common for its era. It should have done him in — left him broken in spirit or else killed him, just as it killed many of his generation — but he exceeded his circumstances and used them as rocket fuel, powering a can-do activism that was equal parts bush politics and serial entrepreneurship.' (Introduction)
'Award-winning writer Alexis Wright launched her latest book in Melbourne recently at an event where it was also announced that she would be the new Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature.'
'In Alexis Wright’s novel Carpentaria (2006), Girlie claims, ‘If you ever want to find out about anything in your vicinity, you have to talk to the mad people.’ There are a lot of mad people in Wright’s biography of Aboriginal activist, thinker, and provocateur ‘Tracker’ Tilmouth. He is probably the maddest of all, in the Kerouacian sense of ‘mad to live, mad to talk’, but, according to his mate Doug Turner, his ‘madness gave him sanity’'. (Introduction)
'A literary criticism of the book "Tracker Tilmouth: The Vision Splendid" by Alexis Wright is presented. It explores Tilmouth's political view on Australian Prime Minister John Howard's government as well as concerns and issues linking the Labor Party. It also provides an overview of Tilmouth, who belonged to the generation of Aboriginal leaders in the country.' (Publication abstract)
'Alexis Wright is shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize for Tracker, the collective memoir of Aboriginal leader and visionary Tracker Tilmouth. In this special Stella interview, Alexis shares insights into how the book came about, the importance of Tracker Tilmouth’s legacy and what she’s working on next.' (Introduction)