'The young Wooreddy recognised the omen immediately, accidentally stepping on it while bounding along the beach: something slimy, something eerily cold and not from the earth. Since it had come from the sea, it was an evil omen.
Soon after, many people died mysteriously, others disappeared without a trace, and once-friendly families became bitter enemies. The islanders muttered, 'It's the times', but Wooreddy alone knew more: the world was coming to an end.
In Mudrooroo's unforgettable novel, considered by many to be his masterpiece, the author evokes with fullest irony the bewilderment and frailty of the last native Tasmanians, as they come face to face with the clumsy but inexorable power of their white destroyers. ...' (Source: Goodreads website)
'Mudrooroo`s reputation as the first and most influential Aboriginal writer has been open to doubt since his `inauthentic` Aboriginal identity became a headline news in Australia. But this essay relocates Mudrooroo as an Aboriginal writer from what Homi Bhabha has called `the postcolonial perspective.` Assuming that authenticity has much to do with positioning and performance rather than bloodline and that cultural hybridity can be a legitimate ground of resistance, the essay argues against the nativist or nationalist logic that `the real Aborigines` alone can talk about Aboriginal problems of their own. Taking Doctor Wooreddy as an instance of his postcolonial remaking of Aboriginality, the essay examines how Mudrooroo `performs` as an Aboriginal writer to engage with the dominant discourse of white Australia that has silenced Aboriginal voices. The novel deserves a postcolonial rereading not only because it rewrites the history of colonial encounter from an Aboriginal standpoint but because it debunks the myths of white supremacy by appropriating white language and literary apparatuses. As a result of Mudrooroo`s writing into history in the mode of `learning to curse,` both Australian literature and Aboriginal literature become a site of intercultural and postcolonial dialogue rather than a province of possessive exclusivism. Aboriginality, hence, can take on a more viable signification beyond the rubric of biological essentialism in order not to serve a fixed, universal trope of otherness to the demand of the hegemonic culture.' (Publication abstract)
‘A fire hydrant on a street corner in Carlton, in inner-city Melbourne, carries an ephemeral stencilled graffito : ‘terror nullius.’ The graffito is a pun on the legal doctrine of terra nullius, Latin for ‘nobody’s land,’ which dictated that any territory found by a colonizing power could be occupied and claimed if it was deemed not to be inhabited by prior occupants. Typically it was deployed by the British, for example, in a number of rulings in the mid- to late – nineteenth century, (Reynolds, 'Frontier History' 4) to legitimize their colonial conquests around the so-called New World, in particular in Australia. Its hegemony as a legal fiction was ended by the Australian High Court’s historic Mabo ruling of 1992, which deemed that so-called native title, that is, Indigenous possession of Australia, had existed before and after British occupation and the declaration of sovereignty in 1788 (Butt, Eagleson, and Lane).’ (Introduction)