King Brown Country: The Betrayal of Papunya

By Russell Skelton | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
MOTORCAR DREAMING

A decade on, the circumstances in which Papunya residents lived showed few signs of improvement as the Honey Ant place evolved from a settlement into a township. With the retreat of DAA and the abandonment of various job creation schemes, fewer people were employed and more became dependent on welfare. Infant mortality rates had fallen sharply, but life expectancy for adults had not. Rates of heart disease and renal failure began to climb as people abandoned bush tucker for fast food. The numbers of eminent artists had declined along with the overall population that was now less than four hundred. Yet Commonwealth and Territory governments pumped substantial amounts of money into the community through a plethora of ineffective assistance schemes. School attendance was deplorable and illicit drinking, as the court records testified, continued to have a corrosive impact. Papunya seemed frozen in a time. There seemed to be no obvious explanation for the lamentable state residents found themselves in.

During an interview with a former store manager who was living in Melbourne, I casually mentioned how odd it was that

-55-

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King Brown Country: The Betrayal of Papunya
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Chapter 1 - First Encounters 1
  • Chapter 2 - Luritja Lady 13
  • Chapter 3 - The Whitefellas’ Fault 19
  • Chapter 4 - Mercenaries, Missionaries and Misfits 33
  • Chapter 5 - Motorcar Dreaming 55
  • Chapter 6 - Winter of Discontent 69
  • Chapter 7 - We Decide Who Comes 81
  • Chapter 8 - The Petrol-Sniffing Capital of Australia 91
  • Chapter 9 - The Consul’s Horse 103
  • Chapter 10 - Anderson Rolls the Dice 123
  • Chapter 11 - Love Hurts 135
  • Chapter 12 - The Loss of Acumen 143
  • Chapter 13 - Back to the Future 161
  • Chapter 14 - ‘Hurricane Katrina’ 177
  • Chapter 15 - Papunya after the Intervention 187
  • Epilogue - The Biggest Day in Nt History 203
  • Author’s Note 217
  • Timeline 219
  • Notes 227
  • Bibliography 241
  • Acknowledgements 245
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