Thursday, March 4, 2010

'The Tall Man' by Chloe Hooper

If you're Australian and you are pretty ignorant about Aboriginal Australia you should read this book.  It is confronting and difficult to read but worth the time.  Just a warning:  the author is anti-police and anti-missionaries but these issues are understandable within the context of the situation she is writing the book in.

The book recounts the story of the death in custody of Cameron Domadagee on Palm Island (off the Queensland coast - nearest city Townsville) in 2004.  The aftermath was a riot on the island which made the media in Australia.  She visits Palm Island, spends time with his family and then follows the legal case against the policeman involved, Chris Hurley.  Which is a long process - about three years.

If you've read 'Joe Cinque's Consolation' by Helen Garner it's in that type of genre.

I don't have any profound thoughts on this topic.  It is just the sad and depressing reality of Australia.  What confronted me most is that it is such a big mess but such a mess that is hidden to most of the Australian population (including myself).  That's why it is important to read.  We need to not allow the issue of our treatment of indigenous Australians to stay hidden.  And to think everything's OK now because my children acknowledge the original owners of the land at the beginning of school assemblies. This book reminds you that it just isn't.

1 comment:

ELF said...

Thanks Jenny, I will look out for the book.

Since starting law, my eyes have really been opened to some of the atrocities committed at and after settlement. Last year, whilst studying the Mabo case, I also watched the SBS series, 'The First Australians'.It's told from the Aboriginal people's point of view - from 1788 through to the Mabo case. I cried my way through most episodes. I knew it was pretty bad, but nowhere near the full extent it really was. If you are interested in watching, I own a copy.

Liz