King Brown Country: The Betrayal of Papunya

By Russell Skelton | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
WINTER OF DISCONTENT

One sweltering summer’s morning a teacher’s union official arrived in Papunya to find the school closed, its doors locked. After making inquiries at the council office, she was directed to a gathering of parents, pupils and teachers taking place under the shade of an old tree. As the official approached, she could hear Alison Anderson holding forth shrilly, switching from English to Aboriginal language and back. A youthful school principal looked on apparently stunned.

Anderson was berating parents for not looking out for their kids, for failing to supervise them. The shop had been vandalised, she said, as had a number of community buildings. Kids had been roaming around at night, stealing and trashing public property. Anderson wanted the principal to shut the school until parents got serious about sending their kids there. The unionist, who asked not to be named, had briefly met Anderson several years earlier, at the Yuendumu annual sports meet. ‘I was impressed that Anderson had taken such a serious view of her role [as clerk], that she understood and valued education,’ the

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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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