#Book Snap on a Tuesday – That Deadman Dance

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Gumbi Gumbi Gardens, USQ, Toowoomba

I am running a little behind with this week’s Book Snap, but better late than never. That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott won the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2011 and is pictured above in the Gumbi Gumbi Gardens at USQ in Toowoomba. Set in Western Australia, the book’s central focus is Bobby, a young aboriginal boy, during the early years of British colonisation. Bobby is encouraged by his family to develop close relationships with the white strangers so that he can learn things from them.

I was raised to be proud and to be friendly…My family thought we could be friends and share what we had.

Towards the end of his life, though, Bobby reflects on his earlier youthful optimism and the moment when he

…opened his eyes properly. There were no more of his people and no more kangaroo and emu and no more vegetable. After the white man’s big fires and guns and greed there was nothing.

Scott notes that some historians regard the Albany area as the “friendly frontier”, which raises all sorts of questions. What if friendly first contact had not escalated into a war of extermination? What if the British had recognised the sovereignty of Australia’s First People? What if they had been willing to share?

That Deadman Dance is the first book by Kim Scott that I have read and it won’t be the last. Highly recommended.

The Gumbi Gumbi Gardens were established at USQ to help  develop “a better understanding of local Indigenous heritage” (Gumbi Gumbi Gardens, USQ). They are open to the public and provide an excellent educational experience about the role of native plants in Indigenous life.

 

2 thoughts on “#Book Snap on a Tuesday – That Deadman Dance

  1. Great book choice and great idea to promote the Gumbi Gumbi gardens, they are a fantastic resource. I am pretty sure there are other Kim Scott books in the USQ library, I think we have Benang at least. You have reminded me I should go for a walk in the Gumbi Gumbi gardens for a change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I was reading the book, I was racking my brain trying to think of a local site connected with indigenous history and then I remembered the gardens. It was my first visit but I was really impressed by the information provided. Next time I might use the app! Definitely a place to promote, revisit and a site for reflection. I really like the way Book Snap is forcing me out of my regular haunts and discovering more about Toowoomba.

      Like

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