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y separately published work icon Mullumbimby single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 2013... 2013 Mullumbimby
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'When Jo Breen uses her divorce settlement to buy a neglected property in the Byron Bay hinterland, she is hoping for a tree change, and a blossoming connection to the land of her Aboriginal ancestors. What she discovers instead is sharp dissent from her teenage daughter, trouble brewing from unimpressed white neighbours and a looming Native Title war between the local Bundjalung families. When Jo unexpectedly finds love on one side of the Native Title divide she quickly learns that living on country is only part of the recipe for the Good Life.' (Source: TROVE)




  • Dedication: for my teachers
  • Epigraph: 'Thin love ain't love at all' - Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • Author's note: This novel is set mainly on the Arakwal lands of the Bundjalung Nation. Like the characters, however, the specific locations of Tin Wagon Road, Piccabeen and Lake Majestic are entirely fictional. They exist only in the author's imagination.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Other Formats

  • Large print.
  • Sound recording.
  • Braille.

Works about this Work

Responsive Topographies : Reading the Ontopoetics in Mullumbimby and The Swan Book Stephen Dickie , 2020 single work criticism
— Appears in: Swamphen : A Journal of Cultural Ecology , no. 7 2020;

'The ways in which European settlers have disrupted Australian lands, and disrupted the relationship that First Nations people have to Indigenous Country, are massive and manifold. This despoliation has deep and lasting implications because Country relies on a dialogue between people and place, and this dialogue is based on millennia of accumulated knowledges. Mitigating the despoliation requires the acknowledgement of this dialogue’s importance, and one mode of making it legible, particularly to European settlers, is through works of Indigenous literature.' (Introduction) 

Sovereignty, Mabo, and Indigenous Fiction Geoff Rodoreda , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 31 no. 2 2017; (p. 344-360)

'Native title was increasingly being seen as a regime of limited property rights that could be curbed by governments at a whim. [...]while many Aboriginal people have certainly benefited from native title determinations 3 since the Native Title Act was passed in 1993, Mabo-based native title offers no recompense to the majority of Aboriginal people living in Australia today, because most of them have been dispossessed of their traditional lands, or their native title rights have been extinguished by land grants to settlers. For Watson, the gains of native title have been "meagre at best, illusory at worst" (284). [...]as the Mabo decision and the native title claims process have proved increasingly disappointing for more Aboriginal people in their aspirations for justice and land rights, attention has returned to sovereignty, something that was expressly denied them in Mabo. The recognition of native title rights in the Mabo decision of 1992, while "truly a catalytic political event" (Russell 279), also provided no advances on the question of sovereignty. [...]all three of these state initiatives from the early 1990s functioned, in effect, to displace calls for a treaty and indigenous sovereignty for a number of years. Wright's narrator explains that "Aboriginal Law handed down through the ages since time began" provides the foundational basis for living on the land (2). [...]the machinations and the history of the "white" nation-state are subordinated to Aboriginal Law early in this novel, and the carriers of Aboriginal Law are established as sovereigns of this place.'  (Publication abstract)

Decolonizing Gender Roles in Pacific Women’s Writing : Indigenous Feminist Theories and the Reconceptualization of Women’s Authority Michaela Moura-Kocoglu , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Contemporary Women's Writing , July vol. 11 no. 2 2017; (p. 239–258)

'This article sets the critical analysis of gender dynamics in Pacific women’s literature in a decolonizing context of trans-Indigenous feminist theories. Māori author Patricia Grace, and Indigenous Australian writer and scholar Melissa Lucashenko center storytelling as a critical methodology in establishing Aboriginality as the central knowledge regime in their writing. Within the framework of a trans-Indigenous methodology, the present study is grounded on and engages with Indigenous feminist theories from the Pacific and beyond: A recognition of multiply situated knowledge and “herstories” establishes female connection to land, spirituality, and community, alongside experiences of colonial invasion and oppression, as key commonalities in Indigenous writing. Through storytelling, Grace and Lucashenko envision gender regimes that reflect Indigenous women’s complexity, as well as authority, positioning Indigenous Pacific women as active agents in confronting sexist patriarchal hegemony, and instrumental for creating balance in gender relations, family, community, and nation, amid complex processes of decolonization.'  (Publication abstract)

I Pity the Poor Immigrant Melissa Lucashenko , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 17 no. 1 2017;

'Many years ago I read a now forgotten novel by a now forgotten author, which had a truly wonderful preface. It read, simply, this bloody book nearly killed me. I therefore dedicate it, dear Reader, to myself. There is a delicate irony at play, I think, in my long remembering this dedication while the book itself is erased completely from my memory. I’ll touch on the interplay of knowledge and memory in due course. What I want to start by saying, though, is that in my case, as in the case of that forgotten preface’s author, while writing can be a horrifically stressful business - and while writing this paper did indeed feel like it was going to kill me - the Author is emphatically Not Dead.' (Introduction)

“Glossary Islands” as Sites of the “Abroad” in Post-Colonial Literature : Towards a New Methodology for Language and Knowledge Relations in Keri Hulme’s The Bone People and Melissa Lucashenko’s Mullumbimby Patrick West , 2016 single work
— Appears in: M/C Journal , October vol. 19 no. 5 2016;

'Reviewing Melissa Lucashenko’s Mullumbimby (2013), Eve Vincent notes that it shares with Keri Hulme’s The Bone People (1984) one significant feature: “a glossary of Indigenous words.” Working with various forms of the term “abroad”, this article surveys the debate The Bone People ignited around the relative merits of such a glossary in texts written predominantly in English, the colonizing language. At stake here is the development of a post-colonial community that incorporates Indigenous identity and otherness (Maori or Aboriginal) with the historical legacy of the English/Indigenous-language multi-lingualism of multi-cultural Australia and New Zealand. I argue that the terms of this debate have remained static since 1984 and that this creates a problem for post-colonial theory. Specifically, the debate has favoured a binary either/or approach, whereby either the Indigenous language or English has been empowered with authority over the text’s linguistic, historical, cultural and political territory. Given that the significations of “abroad” include a travelling encounter with overseas places and the notion of being widely scattered or dispersed, the term has value for an investigation into how post-colonialism as a historical circumstance is mediated and transformed within literature. Post-colonial literature is a response to the “homeland” encounter with a foreign “abroad” that creates particular wide scatterings or dispersals of writing within literary texts.' (Introduction)

Book Mark Katharine England , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 23 February 2013; (p. 34)

— Review of As the River Runs Stephen Scourfield , 2013 single work novel ; Mullumbimby Melissa Lucashenko , 2013 single work novel
Melissa Lucashenko : Mullumbimby James Tierney , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Newtown Review of Books , March 2013;

— Review of Mullumbimby Melissa Lucashenko , 2013 single work novel
The Longing for Belonging Susan Chenery , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 9 March 2013; (p. 30)

— Review of Mullumbimby Melissa Lucashenko , 2013 single work novel
Black and White Blurs as Mother Reclaims Her Country Lorien Kaye , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 13-14 April 2013; (p. 30-31) The Age , 13-14 April 2013; (p. 27) The Canberra Times , 13 April 2013; (p. 23)

— Review of Mullumbimby Melissa Lucashenko , 2013 single work novel
Thorny Nests Tony Birch , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 351 2013;

— Review of Mullumbimby Melissa Lucashenko , 2013 single work novel
Black Russian Susan Johnson , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 23-24 February 2013; (p. 16-18)
'Anger and humour dance side by side as author Melissa Lucashenko explores the complexities of identity.'
Melissa Lucashenko Susan Chenery (interviewer), 2013 single work interview
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 9-10 March 2013; (p. 28-29) The Canberra Times , 9 March 2013; (p. 19)
'While celebrating the Aboriginal connection with the land, this novelist doesn't shy away from confronting issues...'
Winning Words Fran Metcalf , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 27-28 July 2013; (p. 4-5)
Excerpt from Mullumbimby : Friday Night at the Nudgel Melissa Lucashenko , 2013 single work extract
— Appears in: Ora Nui : Special Edition : A Collection of Maori and Aboriginal Literature (p. 93-96)
Brisbane Writers the Last Word in Talent Sally Browne , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 1 May 2014; (p. 50)
Last amended 13 Nov 2019 14:20:45