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Issue Details: First known date: 2019... 2019 Traces of Territory : Alexis Wright's Grog War (1997)
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'This quotation, which appears as an epigraph on the title page of part 1 of Alexis Wright's 1997 book Grog War, immediately frames the problems associated with alcohol in Aboriginal communities as belonging to the legacies of colonialism. Grog is not a passive killer. Poison and guns were killers in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries; nowadays, alcohol is being used to destroy Aboriginal people, families, and whole communities. Grog is contextualized here, at the beginning of Wright's narrative, as an active force in the continuing destruction of communities, a legacy of colonial control and oppression. And if grog is a legacy of colonialism, then both the colonizer and the colonized are compelled to address its destructive force in postcolonial times. A whole community response is needed to address this historical, structural, and social problem. There is no attempt here either to reinforce victimhood or to elude responsibility in relation to the misuse of alcohol. On the contrary, Grog War tells the story of an Aboriginal community's preparedness to face up to the problems of alcohol abuse, to take initiative in working toward solutions, and to encourage a shared sense of responsibility for managing misuse in one Northern Territory town.' (Introduction)


  • Epigraph: I have heard white people say cynically, "We couldn't clean them up with poison and guns, but you watch, we'll do it with the grog." —Rev. Jim Downing

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Antipodes vol. 33 no. 1 June 2019 20294120 2019 periodical issue

    'This current issue of Antipodes fittingly represents the work of the three editors who have guided the journal's production in the past year or so. Volume 32 (2018), a double issue, marked the official end of Nicholas Birns's eighteen-year tenure as editor of Antipodes, and as that volume came to production, Belinda Wheeler lent a diligent hand and a keen eye to the publication of the double issue. An essay or two approved by Nicholas has made its way into the current issue (33.1), with Belinda acquiring many of the essays in this issue. Belinda also provided the editorial guidance for the special section on the work of Alexis Wright. It is from the capable hands of Nicholas and Belinda that I take the reins of the journal Antipodes, with a well-mapped path behind and an open road ahead.' (Brenda Machosky, Editorial introduction)

    pg. 67-78
Last amended 2 Oct 2020 11:06:47
67-78 Traces of Territory : Alexis Wright's Grog War (1997)small AustLit logo Antipodes
  • Grog War Alexis Wright , 1997 single work prose
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