AustLit logo


y separately published work icon Bran Nue Dae : A Musical Journey Jimmy Chi , Jimmy Chi (composer), Kuckles (composer), 1990 Sydney Broome : Currency Press Magabala Books , 1991 Z222822 1990 single work musical theatre (taught in 8 units)

The story of Bran Nue Dae concerns Willie, who having been expelled from the missionary school in Perth returns to Broome on the far north coast of Western Australia. Before leaving Perth, however, he finds his Uncle Tadpole and together they make the journey home with a hippie and a German tourist. Willy discovers sex and true love and their adventures end in the revelation that all the principle characters are related to each other. The whole is a celebration of the multi-cultural life of Broome and of the failures by government and church to make the black population assimilate and conform.

y separately published work icon Swallow the Air Dust on Waterglass Tara June Winch , 2003 St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2006 Z1265164 2003 selected work short story (taught in 33 units)

Swallow the Air follows the life of 15-year-old May Gibson, an Aboriginal girl from New South Wales whose mother commits suicide. May and her brother go to live with their aunt, but eventually May travels further afield, first to Redfern's Block in Sydney, then to the Northern Territory, and finally into central New South Wales. She travels to escape, but also in pursuit of a sense of her own history, family, and identity.

y separately published work icon Gularabulu : Stories from the West Kimberley Stephen Muecke (editor), Paddy Roe , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 1983 Z894338 1983 selected work criticism life story oral history Indigenous story (taught in 6 units) Gularabulu, 'the coast where the sun goes down' is an area of country on the coast of the West Kimberley in the north-west of Western Australia. These stories belong not just to Paddy Roe but to all the people from the traditional tribal groupings of the Garadjeri, Nyigina, Yaour, Nyul-nyul and Djaber-djaber tribes.
y separately published work icon Plains of Promise Alexis Wright , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1997 Z104794 1997 single work novel (taught in 23 units)

'In this brilliant debut novel, Alexis Wright evokes city and outback, deepening our understanding of human ambition and failure, and making the timeless heart and soul of this country pulsate on the page. Black and white cultures collide in a thousand ways as Aboriginal spirituality clashes with the complex brutality of colonisation at St Dominic's mission. With her political awareness raised by work with the city-based Aboriginal Coalition, Mary visits the old mission in the northern Gulf country, place of her mother's and grandmother's suffering. Mary's return reignites community anxieties, and the Council of Elders again turn to their spirit world.' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon Watershed Fabienne Bayet , Alice Springs : IAD Press , 2005 Z1204865 2005 single work novel (taught in 8 units)

'A haunting novel of loss and redemption, Watershed tells with great poignancy and ironic insight the story of Eve and her husband Marconi, whose son David disappeared one day in the Murray River. A novel of contemporary Australian life.' (Source: TROVE)

y separately published work icon True Country Kim Scott , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 1993 Z165486 1993 single work novel (taught in 30 units) 'Billy is drifting, looking for a place to land. A young school teacher, he arrives in Australia's remote far north in search of his own history, his Aboriginality, and his future. He finds himself in a region of abundance and beauty but also of conflict, dispossession and dislocation. On the desperate frontier between cultures, Billy must find his place of belonging.' (Source: Fremantle Press website)
y separately published work icon Shark Bruce Pascoe , Broome : Magabala Books , 1999 Z834973 1999 single work novel (taught in 8 units) The third novel in the series that began with Fox and Ruby-Eyed Coucal. Jim Fox has recently returned to the land of his birth from the Papuan war of independence. Meanwhile, the sleepy town of Tired Sailor is nudged awake when a black child arrives, but will it ever really wake up? (Source: Publisher's website)
y separately published work icon Story About Feeling Bill Neidjie , Keith Taylor (editor), Broome : Magabala Books , 1989 Z112047 1989 selected work poetry (taught in 7 units)

'From a master storyteller, this book links personal discovery to a sense of nature. It restores us to a wisdom that is at once powerful and fresh. Includes reproductions of bark paintings and artworks. ' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon My Place Sally Morgan , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 1987 Z384564 1987 single work autobiography (taught in 30 units)

'In 1982, Sally Morgan travelled back to her grandmother's birthplace. What started as a tentative search for information about her family, turned into an overwhelming emotional and spiritual pilgrimage. My Place is a moving account of a search for truth into which a whole family is gradually drawn, finally freeing the tongues of the author's mother and grandmother, allowing them to tell their own stories.' Source: Publisher's blurb.

y separately published work icon Shadow Lines Stephen Kinnane , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 2003 Z1051216 2003 single work biography (taught in 5 units) 'The story of Jessie Argyle, born in the remote East Kimberley and taken from her Aboriginal family at the age of five, and Edward Smith, a young Englishman escaping the rigid structures of London. In a society deeply divided on racial lines, Edward and Jessie met, fell in love and, against strong opposition, eventually married. Despite unrelenting surveillance and harassment the Smith home was a centre for Aboriginal cultural and social life for over thirty years.' (Source: back cover, 2003 edition)
y separately published work icon No Sugar Jack Davis , 1980 (Manuscript version)x400874 Z264453 1980 single work drama (taught in 21 units)
— Appears in: ドリーマーズ : ノー・シュガー 2006;

'The spirited story of the Millimurra family’s stand against government ‘protection’ policies in 1930s Australia.' (From the publisher's website.)



This subject studies Aboriginal fiction, poetry and drama, as well as life stories and criticism, focusing on questions of reading positions (particularly for non-Aboriginal students) and representation. It pays particular attention to the diversity of Aboriginal writing in terms of form, content, voice and place and examines the manner in which the reception of Aboriginal texts has been conditioned by political and economic factors. On completion of this subject students should understand the problematics of Aboriginal writing in the context of postcolonial Australia, and its relation to everyday life here.


Develop appropriate skills in reading Aboriginal English, creole and vernacular expressions;

Appreciate the diversity of Aboriginal texts with respect to content, form and discourse;

Develop an informed reading position capable of critique yet sensitive to the politics of Aboriginal writing.


Tutorial participation and a 10-minute presentation, 10%; an essay of 1500 words 30% (due mid-semester); and an essay of 2500 words 60% (due at the end of the semester). Students are required to attend a minimum of nine tutorials in order to qualify to have their written work assessed.

Other Details

Levels: Undergraduate