books we recommend
Below you will find my opinion on some books which we have found beneficial. As with all opinions, it is just that, an opinion.
We have included these only so that it may save you time in looking for material on particular topics and /or perhaps encourage you to begin your search.
Some links are provided also where we have found a reasonable site which sells the book.
Is an unconventional assessment of some issues associated indigenous Australians. The main theme here is the focus on the idea that there is an industry built up around these issues which perpetuate the very same issues.
‘True Stories of the Top End’, White, K. 2005, Indra Publishing
Contains interesting anecdotes about everything from the murder of the Japanese pearlers in Arnhem Land (1933) to Cyclone Tracey (1974) … an interesting book for an interesting place ($24)
For those interested in learning about the more obvious plants found in the top end this is a great book. Used extensively by tour guides. ($45)
‘Camping Guide to the Northern Territory’, Lewis, C. & Savage, C. 2010,
Contains info and maps on over 200 campsites in the NT with colour pictures ($29.95)
‘Take a Walk – In Northern Territory’s National Parks’, Daly, J & L. 2006, Take a Walk Publications.
Info, maps and pictures on over 100 walks to do in the NT. Includes easy to hard, day to multi-day tracks ($30).
Looks at the lands rights battle in and around the Darwin area in the 1970’s. The author can often be found at Nightcliff markets on Sunday selling this and many other books and articles. He is always good for a chat ($14 book exchange)
Written by the builders and founders of the Bark Hut Inn on the Arnhem highway it looks at life in the top end in the 70’s and 80’s and the interaction of Aboriginal and non-aboriginal persons and working relationships. The water buffalo Industry is featured as to the massive cull of buffalo which occurred in the 1980’s. Buy local for around $20.
Contains everything you need to know about termites in the NT. Termites being an obvious and essential part of the landscape this is a must have booklet. Written by CSIRO staff in an easy to read and follow format with lots of cool pictures. Buy local for around $10.
Looks in detail and specific reasons why even the hardest and dedicated cultural basions eventually just give up the fight for cultural and physical survival. From obvious wrongs committed against aboriginal people such as massacres to supposed good intention effects of providing western medical services this book presents the nightmare which is aboriginal and non-aboriginal interactions in a coherent and easy to understand format and goes as long way to providing some reasons as to why it has proven so difficult to ‘solving the issues’. Enlightening book but depressing. ($30).
This includes the notes, pics and thoughts of Sir Baldwin Spencer who was the first Government Protector of Aboriginal people in the NT in the early part of the 1900’s. The focus is on the Gagadju People of what is now western Arnhem land and also the source of the name for World Heritage Kakadu National Park. The region around Oenpelli in western Arnhem and the site of Paddy Cahills buffalo camp and later first mission in the NT is primary material in this book. A must for anyone travelling to this area before getting there. Read it. ($30)
Excellent book for a self-guided cultural tour around the Darwin area. Interesting to learn the sites of significance around Darwin and the moves to protect these locations which were often not successful. Hire a car ($80), buy the book ($32.95) and take a picnic basket. A great day out!
A true story of the adventure of two young Australians in Arnhem in the 1920’s buffalo industry. A great snapshot of the life and times of that period which leaves you in awe of the strength of character of the people and wildness of the Top End. An interesting period in which aboriginal and non-aboriginal work hand in hand, relying on each other for success. Respect between these two groups is obvious at that time. This book contains many interesting cultural observations. By local for around $23.
‘The Killing Times: The Coniston Massacre 1928’, Cribbin, J. 1984, Fontana Books, Sydney
A case study of a massacre of at least 33 Aboriginal people in Central Australia in 1928 which resulted in no convictions on the part of the offenders. An unbelievable story of genocide which is within living memory of some aboriginal people today. A tragic read.
‘Due inheritance’, Egan, T. 2008. Niblock Publishing, Nightcliff
Former NT Administrator Egan looks at government policies in relation to aboriginal people and communities such as the ‘intervention’ and various initiatives like education and health. He identifies issues with their success and factors influencing their implementation but goes one step further and offers alternatives to what government has decreed. This book is a great starting point for those interested in the many issues surrounding aboriginal people and communities and interactions with mainstream society. ($30)
As the title suggests this is a one stop book telling the recent and beginning story for the aboriginal people in Australia. Also included are a wide variety of aspects such as cultural information as well as the story of depopulation and colonisation.
An incredibly easy to read book with only 181 pages filled with information and stories touching on the forces which shape civilisations and the steamroller which was European settlement in the Northern Territory. Life and lifestyles of both aboriginal and colonisers in the area are described as to some of the persons of history which help shape the Top End. Overall the best general history book on the NT I have thus far read ($45 from Dymocks).
‘Men’s business / Women’s Business: The spiritual role of gender in the world’s oldest culture’, Bell H.R. 1998. Inner Traditions International, Rochester.
A very good account of the eparation of roles in traditional aboriginal culture and the link between physiological and spiritual development of the person and their evolving role in their clan. The first chapter can be skipped unless you are interested in the personal development of the author ($36)
38 degrees South, Australia Felix. Hedditch, K. 2009.Program Print, Hamilton, Victoria
Excellent. Covers the transformation of Victoria following European settlement and the influence on water resources, aboriginal peoples and culture, forests the lot! It reads a picture in your mind of the drastic and often violent changes which have occurred in the last 230 years and also gives history to many of the common names which label our most famous landmarks such as highways, rivers and bays. A sad account of the demise of promised land. ($35)
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