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Alternative title: We Come From Saltwater People
Issue Details: First known date: 2016... 2016 Saltwater : An Epic Fight for Justice in the Tropics
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'When Cathy McLennan first steps into Townsville’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service as a young graduate she isn’t expecting a major murder case to land on her desk. The accused are four teenage boys whose family connections stretch across the water to Palm Island.

'As she battles to prove herself in the courtroom, Cathy realises that the truth is far more complex than she first thought. She starts to question who are the criminals and who are the victims.

'Saltwater tells the compelling story of one lawyer’s fight for justice amongst the beauty and the violence of this tropical paradise.' (Publication summary)

Notes

  • We Come From Saltwater People was the title of the unpublished manuscript.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Crocodile Tears Russell Marks , 2019 single work essay
— Appears in: Overland , Summer no. 237 2019; (p. 52-57)

'Written by Queensland barrister Cathy McLennan, Saltwater has received almost universal acclaim among readers, reviewers and indeed the Queensland Literary Awards (QLAs), which declared it ‘Best Non-Fiction Book’ in 2017. Its author, appointed a magistrate shortly before the book’s publication, has since accepted invitations to speak on matters of law and policy affecting Aboriginal people and communities.' (Introduction)

Saltwater by Cathy McLennan Michelle Mullins , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Etropic , vol. 16 no. 2 2017;

'This book needs to be acknowledged as a potentially challenging and polarising read on a difficult subject. It is one that has attracted positive public acclaim, and rankled some others as well. It is a book that tells some hard truths, and risks saying some unsayable things. For those who are unaware of some of the significant issues on Palm Island and in youth detention, particularly as they pertain to Indigenous youth, this book is a must-read. For those who are members of this community, the narrative may be too close to home, and the risk of these hard truths being told in ways that point the blame too squarely at those involved, without appraising the larger structural complexities and social issues that are implicated, is perhaps too high.'  (Introduction)

Reading Three Stories of Palm Island Leigh Dale , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Etropic , vol. 16 no. 2 2017;

'After briefly introducing Palm Island and its history as a place of punishment for Indigenous people, this essay looks at how readers respond to three books about Palm: Thea Astley’s The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow (1996), Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man (2008), and Cathy McLennan’s Saltwater (2016). Using reviews posted by contributors to Goodreads, I investigate the colocation of terms which recur in positive reviews, in search of a specific form of reading, described here as “absorption.” Against the publishing and broader cultural conventions which differentiate fiction from non-fiction, the evidence shows that readers who describe themselves as having become absorbed tend also to praise these books for their truth, regardless of genre. The essay proposes some points of reference for thinking about the reading experience, and concludes by briefly noting the limits of using of genre in marketing, reviewing, and studying books. The essay is built on an awareness of the radical imbalance in the distribution of literacy in the region these books depict.'   (Publication abstract)

Beyond Tragic Sue Bond , 2017 single work essay review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , January-February no. 388 2017; (p. 61)

'This book is likely to anger many readers. Saltwater is about Cathy McLennan’s time as a barrister for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service on Palm Island and in Townsville in the 1990s. Aged twenty-two and faced with a heavy workload, she was confronted with heartbreaking cases of violence, trauma, and neglect. Other lawyers in the office came and went, but the Aboriginal field officers remained constant. Throughout, there are reminders that Palm Island is a beautiful place with forests and crystalline water, despite its being referred to as ‘the most violent place on earth outside a war zone’.'

(Introduction)

Stories from the Front Line of Disadvantage Rosemary Neill , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 24-25 September 2016; (p. 23)

— Review of Saltwater : An Epic Fight for Justice in the Tropics Cathy McLennan , 2016 single work autobiography
Stories from the Front Line of Disadvantage Rosemary Neill , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 24-25 September 2016; (p. 23)

— Review of Saltwater : An Epic Fight for Justice in the Tropics Cathy McLennan , 2016 single work autobiography
Beyond Tragic Sue Bond , 2017 single work essay review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , January-February no. 388 2017; (p. 61)

'This book is likely to anger many readers. Saltwater is about Cathy McLennan’s time as a barrister for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service on Palm Island and in Townsville in the 1990s. Aged twenty-two and faced with a heavy workload, she was confronted with heartbreaking cases of violence, trauma, and neglect. Other lawyers in the office came and went, but the Aboriginal field officers remained constant. Throughout, there are reminders that Palm Island is a beautiful place with forests and crystalline water, despite its being referred to as ‘the most violent place on earth outside a war zone’.'

(Introduction)

Reading Three Stories of Palm Island Leigh Dale , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Etropic , vol. 16 no. 2 2017;

'After briefly introducing Palm Island and its history as a place of punishment for Indigenous people, this essay looks at how readers respond to three books about Palm: Thea Astley’s The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow (1996), Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man (2008), and Cathy McLennan’s Saltwater (2016). Using reviews posted by contributors to Goodreads, I investigate the colocation of terms which recur in positive reviews, in search of a specific form of reading, described here as “absorption.” Against the publishing and broader cultural conventions which differentiate fiction from non-fiction, the evidence shows that readers who describe themselves as having become absorbed tend also to praise these books for their truth, regardless of genre. The essay proposes some points of reference for thinking about the reading experience, and concludes by briefly noting the limits of using of genre in marketing, reviewing, and studying books. The essay is built on an awareness of the radical imbalance in the distribution of literacy in the region these books depict.'   (Publication abstract)

Saltwater by Cathy McLennan Michelle Mullins , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Etropic , vol. 16 no. 2 2017;

'This book needs to be acknowledged as a potentially challenging and polarising read on a difficult subject. It is one that has attracted positive public acclaim, and rankled some others as well. It is a book that tells some hard truths, and risks saying some unsayable things. For those who are unaware of some of the significant issues on Palm Island and in youth detention, particularly as they pertain to Indigenous youth, this book is a must-read. For those who are members of this community, the narrative may be too close to home, and the risk of these hard truths being told in ways that point the blame too squarely at those involved, without appraising the larger structural complexities and social issues that are implicated, is perhaps too high.'  (Introduction)

Crocodile Tears Russell Marks , 2019 single work essay
— Appears in: Overland , Summer no. 237 2019; (p. 52-57)

'Written by Queensland barrister Cathy McLennan, Saltwater has received almost universal acclaim among readers, reviewers and indeed the Queensland Literary Awards (QLAs), which declared it ‘Best Non-Fiction Book’ in 2017. Its author, appointed a magistrate shortly before the book’s publication, has since accepted invitations to speak on matters of law and policy affecting Aboriginal people and communities.' (Introduction)

Last amended 10 May 2018 15:06:12
Settings:
  • Palm Island, Ingham area, Ingham - Cairns area, Queensland,
  • Townsville, Townsville area, Marlborough - Mackay - Townsville area, Queensland,
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