'Biography of William Ferguson, an Aboriginal man from NSW, who dedicated his life to the cause of Aboriginal advancement, particularly in terms of full citizenship rights and the abolition of the NSW Aborigines Protection Board; also a socio political history of Aboriginal / white relations in NSW for the past sixty years; formation of the Aborigines Protection Association (and its activities) and the NSW Aborigines Protection Board; Ferguson's family history and his childhood, including a brief stay at Warangesda Mission (started by Rev. John Gribble); history of NSW shearing industry, Fergusons employment in it and his involvement in the Australian Workers Union; detailed history of the NSW Aborigines Protection Board, its involvement in the running of reserves; policies toward half castes v. full blood Aborigines and assimilation; the Aborigines Protection Acts; in depth accounts of reserve life, discussing many by name, under Board management; common diseases, poor health facilities, segregated schools, inadequate housing (conditions described) control by local police sergeants, management by husband - wife teams doubling as teacher and nurse, training homes for children and apprenticeship policy, prohibition against liquor, differential wages and payment by shop order, rationing of supplies, lack of welfare benefits; Ferguson's involvement in setting up the Aborigines Progressive Association, detailed account of its activities especially regarding the Protection Board; policies and motions put forth at annual meetings; activities of the Association for the Protection of Native Races, Australian Aborigines League, and the Committee for Aboriginal Citizen Rights, and of other Aborigines and whites who worked in these organisations; Day of Mourning - 1938 Australia Day rally; Select Committee of 1938 to review Board activities; creation of NSW Aborigines Welfare Board to replace the Protection Board, its policies and activities (including exemption certificates, promoting farming on reserves, closing many reserves, improving general conditions); requests for citizenship rights and representation in Parliament; first political manifesto, Aborigines claim citizenship rights, Long range policy for Aborigines put forth to PM Lyons, beginning of Australian Abo Call magazine; State, Federal and ALP policies toward Aborigines; Malgoa Home incident; effects of WWII and political ideologies on Government activities regarding Aborigines; Ferguson's political involvement with William Cooper, John Patten, Pearl Gibbs, Herbert Groves, William Onus, Pastor Sir Douglas Nicholls, and others; his election to the Welfare Board and involvement in its activities; break with the ALP and his unsuccessful bid for a parliamentary seat as an Independent; makes brief reference to the following tribes; Wiradjuri, Koinberi, Wongaibon, Barkenji, Widjabal and Bandjalong in NSW and PItjantjatjara (SA); Appendices include NSW Aborigines Protection Act (1909), Aborigines claim citizenship rights, regulations under Protection Acts, 1915-1940.'
'Some of the best, most significant writing produced in Australia over more than two centuries is gathered in this landmark anthology. Covering all genres - from fiction, poetry and drama to diaries, letters, essays and speeches - the anthology maps the development of one of the great literatures in English in all its energy and variety.
'The writing reflects the diverse experiences of Australians in their encounter with their extraordinary environment and with themselves. This is literature of struggle, conflict and creative survival. It is literature of lives lived at the extremes, of frontiers between cultures, of new dimensions of experience, where imagination expands.
'This rich, informative and entertaining collection charts the formation of an Australian voice that draws inventively on Indigenous words, migrant speech and slang, with a cheeky, subversive humour always to the fore. For the first time, Aboriginal writings are interleaved with other English-language writings throughout - from Bennelong's 1796 letter to the contemporary flowering of Indigenous fiction and poetry - setting up an exchange that reveals Australian history in stark new ways.
'From vivid settler accounts to haunting gothic tales, from raw protest to feisty urban satire and playful literary experiment, from passionate love poetry to moving memoir, the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature reflects the creative eloquence of a society.
'Chosen by a team of expert editors, who have provided illuminating essays about their selections, and with more than 500 works from over 300 authors, it is an authoritative survey and a rich world of reading to be enjoyed.' (Publisher's blurb)
Allen and Unwin have a YouTube channel with a number of useful videos on the Anthology.