First Nations Students’ Publications

A selection of First Nations Students’ Writing from the Library’s collection is now on display on level 3 of Fisher Library. All works are written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and some staff from across the University of Sydney.

These cabinets showcase Black Excellence that has existed for decades and only continues to grow. Many of these items represent Indigenous-led writing and editing processes that are quite rare within the publishing industry.

Over the last 60 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education and enrolment has been a small but strong cohort who have navigated an often difficult environment that is the University. There are many leading First Nations scholars and workers who have spent time at the University – and potentially in the Library – who are now working uniquely with research and cultural practices.

One cabinet features covers and excerpts from the student magazines Honi Soit and the Gazette, written by First Nations students and/or about First Nations topics and issues. Both magazines, but Honi Soit in particular, have a distinct legacy of social justice and champion student writing and creativity. You will see the second Indigenous Edition (2015) which was curated, edited and contributed to by First Nations students. The display also features poems by student Ken Howard Brown, as featured in Issue 15 from 1990.

In the other cabinet, you will see the research from First Nations students whilst they have been studying as well as First Nations Alumni. Reflections by students of the Aboriginal Education Assistant Program in the late 80s in the works “Pukuda Multhi Puthala, Dreamtime all the time” and “Wiimpatjai Bulku Pipinja : Black Fellas’ Message” are a combination of poems, essays, reflections, Dreaming Stories and illustrations.

Next to this is the first edition of “Black on Black” which brings together a series of academic essays from Aboriginal Students at the University in 1998. Accompanying these works are publications from past Alumni and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, including Peter Minter, Leah Lui-Chivizhe and Noel Pearson. The students and staff themselves reflect the complexities and richness of First Nations communities from right across Australia.

We are inspired by what we see and how we are represented. When we are already a minority at the University and often come into this environment not as the conventional student, we are wanting to stay connected to our communities and be apart of a community on campus.

Writing, art, poetry and cultural expression can form that community. This has been an interesting project and it has been lovely working with Anne, Charlotte, Julie and Emily in Rare Books and Special Collections aswell as Uma at the Wingara Mura Resource Centre. I look forward to more displays in the future.

Pippa Herden (Gomeroi), Indigenous Engagement Officer, University of Sydney Library

Sydney Rare Book Week

Come celebrate Sydney’s
Rare Book Week again!

Sydney is once again celebrating Sydney Rare Book Week
(25 to 29 October) with an exciting free online program this year. Every day at 4 pm, a panel will discuss the importance of books, memorabilia, historical records and collecting, followed by a Q&A session. 

Bring your afternoon tea and join us!

You need to register separately for each event
– registration details are provided for each session. 

Wednesday 27 October: The Sydney Harbour Bridge:
an Australian icon 

Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Australia’s cultural icons, recognised worldwide. But how much do you actually know about this famous bridge? Join us for this panel discussion with speakers from the University of Sydney, the Powerhouse Museum and Moore Theological College to delve into the bridge’s history:  its design, planning and construction, the people involved, the political climate and societal impact. This one-hour online event will feature a panel discussion, followed by ample time for audience questions. Bring your afternoon tea and beverage of choice and join us to be informed and entertained. 

Read more about The Sydney Harbour Bridge: an Australian icon 

Panel moderator:

Julie Sommerfeldt
Manager, Rare Books and Special Collections, the University of Sydney Library

Panel speakers:

Dr Sophie Loy-Wilson
Senior Lecturer in Australian History, University of Sydney.  

Anni Turnbull 
Curator at MAAS and her expertise includes the social history of Sydney and NSW. This includes significant sites of Sydney, and in particular the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Anni aims to incorporate people’s stories in museum and library collections and make them accessible through oral and video histories, exhibitions, web stories and podcasts.  

Erin Mollenhauer AALIA(CP) ASAAM
Team Leader, Library & Archives at the Donald Robinson Library, Moore College, where she has worked since 2012. She is responsible for the rare book collection and the Samuel Marsden Archives, a collecting archive focusing on Anglicanism and evangelical Christianity. She holds a Master of Information Studies (Librarianship) from Charles Sturt University, and a Graduate Diploma of Archives and Records Management from Curtin University.

Dr Cameron Logan 
Urban and architectural historian and director of the postgraduate program in Heritage Conservation at the University of Sydney. He is currently working on a book on the adaptive reuse of buildings, and developing a project about architecture and the urban crowd. He is the author of Historic Capital: Preservation Race and Real Estate in Washington, DC (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), which was awarded the Society of Architectural Historian’s Antoinette Forrester Downing Book Award. He is co-editor of Fabrications: the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand.

Disability Inclusion Week 2021

photo of hands reading braille

Join us as the University of Sydney Library celebrates Disability Inclusion Week, 20 – 24 September 2021!

The theme for 2021 is Invisible Disabilities. There are 4.4 million Australians who have a disability and 90% of them have an invisible disability.

Access, inclusion and diversity are part of our core at University of Sydney Library. We’re proud to offer staff and students from all backgrounds the opportunity to get involved and build a stronger understanding of the challenges faced when living with a disability.

Here are some ways you can get involved and learn more.


How invisible is an invisible disability? Myths and misconceptions from a student perspective and available support.

Tuesday 21 September, 12.30-1.30pm

In this panel discussion we will hear about the lived experiences of an invisible disability from current students, explore why invisible disabilities are often thought of as less legitimate disabilities.

Use this link to register for How invisible is an invisible disability? at eventbrite.

Deaf Communities: thriving cultures and languages

Wednesday 22 September, 1-2pm

This year Disability Inclusion Week also coincides with International Week of Deaf People. Learn more about the Deaf community as the panel discusses their cultures and languages. You will hear people sharing their lived experience, alongside those researching and working closely with Deaf communities.

Use this link to register for Deaf Communities: thriving cultures and languages at eventbrite.

Disability Inclusion Support Resources

Apps for Accessibility

On Canvas we have information and links to apps that may assist anyone who experiences difficulty with vision, hearing, reading, writing, physical dexterity, organisation and planning due to disability and temporary or situational impairments.

Use this link to visit the Apps for accessibility page on Canvas.

Clients with a Disability

Ensuring Library spaces, services and resources are easy to access for all clients is our priority. On the Library website, our Clients with disability web page is a guide to the support we provide all clients to help access resources and services needed for research and study.

Use this link to visit the Clients with disability page on the Library website.

TED talks

Tune in and learn about the perspectives of these prominent people living with disabilities:

Stella Young: I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much

Dylan Alcott: The Truth About Growing Up Disabled and Mainstreaming Disability

Jordan Raskopoulos: Living With High Functioning Anxiety

Jessica McCabe: Failing at Normal: an ADHD Success Story

Cecilia McGough: I Am Not A Monster: Schizophrenia


Current University of Sydney students and staff have access to the excellent streaming service Kanopy. We highly recommend the films listed below. To set up your Kanopy subscription use this link.


This critically acclaimed short film explores the challenges faced by a hearing person with deaf parents. Set in the world of competitive dance, it was produced in 2019 by the University of Southern California.

Link to the film Coda on Kanopy.


Celebrated by audiences at home and abroad, Indigenous artist Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu was one of the most important and acclaimed voices to ever come out of Australia. Blind from birth, he found purpose and meaning through songs and music inspired by his community and country on Elcho Island in far North East Arnhem Land.

Link to the film Gurrumul on Kanopy.


This film stars three pioneering young American adults with intellectual disabilities, challenges what it means to be intelligent, and points to a future in which people of all abilities can fully participate in higher education, meaningful employment and intimate relationships.

Link to the film Intelligent Lives on Kanopy.


A decade after the award-winning film about autism, Normal People Scare Me, Taylor Cross follows up with this sequel documentary including interviews of former and new cast members and family about attitudes and first-person perspectives/experiences in autism today.

Link to the film Normal People Scare Me Too on Kanopy.


Revisit Episode #15 “Disability Inclusion”. PeerPod is our bi-monthly podcast about topics relating to student life. In this episode our Peer Learning Advisors speak with Jack and Max about Disability Support Services; what they can do to assist with invisible disabilities and the positive impacts reaching out can have on your studies.

Reading List

We’re showcasing just a selection of books from our collection for Disability Inclusivity Week. Enjoy!

Transition to Retirement: a guide to inclusive practice

The Transition to Retirement (TTR) program aims to help older people with long-term disability gradually build an active and socially inclusive retirement lifestyle through volunteering and participating in mainstream community groups. Members of these groups are trained to act as mentors and provide support.

The three-year TTR research project and subsequent years of TTR service delivery have shown that this approach is feasible and has enduring positive outcomes for people with disability, mentors and community groups.

Find Transition to Retirement: a guide to inclusive practice in Library Search


Look me in the eye: my life with asperger’s

by John Elder Robison

Look me in the eye: my life with asperger’s tells of a child’s heartbreaking desperation to connect with others, and his struggle to pass as ‘normal’ – a struggle that would continue into adulthood. John Elder Robison’s memoir of growing up with Asperger’s syndrome (a form of high-functioning autism) at a time when the diagnosis didn’t even exist is both moving and blackly funny.

Along the way it also tells the story of two brothers born eight years apart yet devoted to each other: the author and his younger brother, who would grow up to become bestselling writer Augusten Burroughs and who has contributed a beautiful foreword to this book.

Find Look me in the eye: my life with asperger’s in Library Search


The one and only Sam a story explaining idioms for children with Asperger syndrome or other communication difficulties.

Aileen Stalker

This is the story of a boy who struggles to understand non-literal expressions. Throughout the story, Sam encounters a range of common idioms, each of which is accompanied by an illustration of its literal meaning and one depicting its actual meaning, helping children to explore what the idioms sound like and why they might mean what they do.

Find The one and only Sam in Library Search

Marcelo in the real world

by Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm.

Find Marcelo in the real world in Library Search

Dyslexics dating, marriage and parenthood

by Neil Alexander-Passe

This new and innovative book aims to investigate adult dyslexics and their long-term relationships, along with their journey through parenthood. The book begins by investigating adult dyslexics and their childhoods, looking at their emotional and behavioural coping strategies. These adults, with others from a website for adult dyslexics, look at the impact childhood trauma has on dating, then on marriage/long-term partners.

A commissioned study interviewing long-term partners of dyslexics brings new perspective to understanding how dyslexia affects relationships and how they interact as parents.

Find Dyslexics dating, marriage and parenthood in Library Search

Visions : the inspirational journeys of epilepsy advocates

by Linda Sudlesky

Visions’ contains the stories of 50 people who have answered the call to advocate on behalf of those with epilepsy. They are people with epilepsy, family members, or friends who have been motivated by their own, unique experiences to make a positive impact in the lives of people who have epilepsy.

This book empowers people affected by epilepsy and inspires continued advocacy for what has been a misunderstood and underfunded neurological disorder.

Find Visions: the inspirational journeys of epilepsy advocates in Library Search

The Successful Dyslexic Identify the Keys to Unlock Your Potential

by Neil Alexander-Passe

This innovative book looks at the keys for success in dyslexic adults, comparing both those who are successful and less successful, enabling parents and teachers to use these keys to best support young dyslexics. These keys look at home life, school, career choices, working relationships, coping strategies, traits, unique selling points, and what is considered success for somebody with dyslexia.

Find The Successful Dyslexic Identity the Keys to Unlock Your Potential in Library Search

The Paralympic Games explained

by Ian Brittain

The Paralympic Games Explained is the first complete introduction to the Paralympic phenomenon, exploring every key aspect and issue, from the history and development of the Paralympic movement to the economic and social impact of the contemporary Games. classification in disability sport.

Find The Paralymic Games explained in Library Search

Blythe Spirit

by Sandy Blythe

This autobiography tells of the author’s life before and after the car accident that left him a paraplegic. Tells of the efforts he made to cope with his injuries, his triumph in co-captaining the Australian men’s wheelchair basketball team which won the gold medal at the Atlanta Paralympics, his determination to complete a Masters degree in physical education and his work helping other victims of spinal injury.

The author runs a disability management company.

Find Blythe Spirit in Library Search

Locked In: The Will to Survive and the Resolve to Live

by Victoria Arlen

Paralympics champion and Dancing with the Stars contestant Victoria Arlen shares her courageous and miraculous story of recovery after falling into a mysterious vegetative state and how she broke free, overcoming the odds and never giving up hope, eventually living a full and inspiring life.

Find Locked In: The Will to Survive and the Resolve to Live in Library Search

The Handbook of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

by Vassil Girginov

The Handbook of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is the definitive, officially-licensed account of the world’s greatest sporting mega-event. It tells the complete story of the 2012 Games from inception, through the successful bidding process and the planning and preparation phase, to delivery, aftermath and legacy.

Written by a world-class team of international Olympic experts, sports researchers and writers, the book offers comprehensive analysis of the full social, cultural, political, historical, economic and sporting context of the Games. From the political, commercial and structural complexities of organizing an event on such a scale, to the sporting action that holds the attention of the world for three thrilling weeks, this book illuminates every aspect of the 2012 Games, helping us to better understand the vital role that sport and culture have in contemporary global society.

Find The Handbook of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Library Search

Without warning

by Damien Thomlinson

After losing both his legs in an accident in Afghanistan, Special Forces soldier Damien Thomlinson was determined not only to survive, but to meet life head on.

This is an uplifting story of guts, drive and exceptional resilience. Damien has set himself extraordinary challenges including walking the demanding 96km Kokoda Track in honour of a fallen comrade and becoming the public face of the Commando Welfare Trust.

Damien is now an aspiring Paralympian, determined to represent Australia in snowboarding.

Find Without warning in Library Search

Under the medical gaze: facts and fictions of chronic pain

by Susan Greenhalgh

This compelling account of the author’s experience with a chronic pain disorder and subsequent interaction with the American health care system goes to the heart of the workings of power and culture in the biomedical domain. It is a medical whodunit full of mysterious misdiagnosis, subtle power plays, and shrewd detective work.

Setting a new standard for the practice of autoethnography, Susan Greenhalgh presents a case study of her intense encounter with an enthusiastic young specialist who, through creative interpretation of the diagnostic criteria for a newly emerging chronic disease, became convinced she had a painful, essentially untreatable, lifelong muscle condition called fibromyalgia. Greenhalgh traces the ruinous effects of this diagnosis on her inner world, bodily health, and overall well-being.

Find Under the medical gaze: facts and fictions of chronic pain in Library Search

A Woman’s Courage : Inside Depression

by Christina Taylor

What is it like to live with depression? To feel you are in a black hole with no way to escape?

Christina Taylor presents an honest account of what it was like for her, keeping a smile on her face for the benefit of the outside world, as she battled daily with conflicting and abnormal emotions and behaviours. Finally, no longer able to keep up the facade, she attempted suicide.

Depression, once a taboo subject, is now a recognized and treatable mental illness.

Find A Woman’s Courage : Inside Depression in Library Search

Life After Darkness: A doctor’s journey through severe depression

by Cathy Wield

Life After Darkness is the remarkable and moving story of a doctor and mother of four who endured seven years of severe depression. Self-harm, attempted suicides and admissions to psychiatric units culminated in her resorting to brain surgery as a final attempt to escape her illness.

The story of Cathy Wield covers the horrors of time spent in archaic institutions and the loss of any hope, to a full recovery following surgery. Today she has returned to her career and rediscovered the joys of life and her family. This story is one of hope from an often hidden and stigmatized disease.

Find Life After Darkness: A doctor’s journey through severe depression in Library Search

Enabling discovery: cataloguing the Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections

Sydney Digital Collections Usyd Library

In a time where Library space is at a premium and print collections are increasingly making way for digital, Rare Books and Special Collections stand out as unique points of difference within university libraries and offer a multitude of opportunities for creative and innovative educational experiences and original research.

The University of Sydney Library’s Rare and Special collections comprise manuscripts and books spanning millennia, from over 2000 B.C. to the current day, and encompassing literary, cultural, scientific, and religious thought across the globe.

Ethel M Richmond bequest

Ethel M Richmond’s generous bequest to the University Library has enabled a large-scale project to catalogue these collections, making them searchable and discoverable to researchers worldwide.


In 2017, a sketch of the Virgin and Child, since attributed to the Italian Renaissance artist Giorgione, was found in the back of a 15th Century edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy along with a contemporary inscription giving Giorgione’s age and the exact date of his death.

This previously unknown information allows Giorgione’s career timeline to be rewritten, and the addition of a new drawing to the small oeuvre of this enigmatic artist is of significance to art historians worldwide.

Who knows what other tantalising revelations are waiting to be revealed through this cataloguing project?

Sydney Digital Collections

In addition to cataloguing, the Library has a concurrent digitisation program that provides open access to high quality digital versions of significant historical and cultural treasures, via Sydney Digital Collections.

Lockdown Discoveries Series

Lockdown Discoveries is a series of blog posts and an exhibition created and curated by the Rare Books & Special Collections Cataloguing Project Team to highlight some of the weird and wonderful items they discovered whilst working from home during the 2020 Covid-19 Lockdown.

The exhibition showcases highlights from the Graham Science Fiction collection, handpicked and curated by the RBSC Cataloguing Project Team. The exhibition has been temporarily paused for the 2021 stay at home orders and will reopen when it is safe to open the Rare Book reading rooms once more.

Explore the links below to learn more about the cataloguing project, the discoveries and resulting exhibition.

Lockdown Discoveries: Part 1

Lockdown Discoveries: Part 2

Lockdown Discoveries: Part 3

Cataloguing the Graham Science Fiction Collection

Lockdown Discoveries Exhibition

Palm Leaf Manuscript

Respecting Custodianship

Australian landscape featuring beautiful clouds

by Dr Antonia Mocatta

The University of Sydney Library exists on unceded Aboriginal lands. To demonstrate commitment to fostering an environment of respect and truth telling, the Library and its staff acknowledge and respect the ongoing connection Aboriginal peoples have to these lands, and the knowledge and practices that have allowed these lands to be holistically and sustainably maintained.

We are committed to embedding culturally competent practices across our Library services, collections and spaces. The following article is a guide for those who would like to understand more about the cultural context around the tradition of acknowledging Country, and to build confidence in presenting an Acknowledgement in a culturally competent way.

The Differences Between a ‘Welcome to Country’ & an ‘Acknowledgement of Country’

What is a Welcome to Country?

For thousands of years, protocols have existed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture for welcoming visitors to Country. Permission needed to be requested and granted for visitors to enter Country belonging to another group. Once permission was granted, the host group would welcome their visitors and offer them spiritual protection and safe passage during their time on Country.

Today, this tradition is continued in a symbolic way though the Welcome to Country ceremony that usually occurs before the start of a formal event. This can take several forms including speech, singing, dancing and smoking ceremonies.  A Welcome to Country is usually delivered by the Traditional Owners of Country, and typically by a prominent member of that community or an Elder who has the authority and knowledge to deliver a Welcome.

What is an Acknowledgement of Country?

An Acknowledgement of Country can be delivered by non-Indigenous people or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are not in a position to deliver a Welcome to Country. Delivering an Acknowledgement provides anyone the opportunity to show their awareness of respect for the Traditional Owners of the land they are on, and their continuing relationship with that land.

When Should a Spoken Acknowledgement of Country be Delivered?

An Acknowledgement of Country can be delivered before meetings, gatherings or events even if the content of the proceeding event does not relate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture or history. An Acknowledgement of Country can be delivered by anyone, Indigenous or non-Indigenous.

What Should be Included in an Acknowledgement of Country?

There is no set script for an Acknowledgement of Country.

In formal meetings or when you are unsure what to say when delivering an Acknowledgement, you may opt to use the University of Sydney’s official Acknowledgement (below).

Before we begin the proceedings, I would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land on which we meet: the Gadigal* people of the Eora* Nation. It is upon their ancestral lands that the University of Sydney is built.

As we share our own knowledge, teaching, learning and research practices within this university may we also pay respect to the knowledge embedded forever within the Aboriginal Custodianship of Country.

*The Gadigal people of the Eora Nation are the traditional owners of the lands in Sydney, including the Camperdown campus. Find out and use the name of the people and Nation of the land that you are on.

In less formal settings such as internal meetings or gatherings, as a demonstration of respect, you should personalise your Acknowledgement and share what it means to you to work on Country. Doing this can demonstrate your genuine respect for Country.

Before delivering any Acknowledgement, you should learn what Country you are on, who its Traditional Custodians are, and how to pronounce the name of their community, and the historical context for the area (refer to the AIATSIS map).

Consider including the following elements when preparing a personalised Acknowledgement of Country:

  • Name and acknowledge the nation, people, or language group of the land you are on (refer to the AIATSIS map)
  • Refer to particular aspects of Country in the area – are you in the desert, on an island or there any local sacred or historical sites
  • Identify the continuing connection of the Traditional Owners to that land
  • Recognise that First Nations sovereignty was never ceded
  • Pay respects to their Elders and any First Nations people present
  • Thank them for caring for Country over thousands of generations
  • Talk about what it means to you to be on Country.

You may wish to deliver an Acknowledgement in Gadigal language.  For guidance on content and pronunciation you can watch the video below in which Professor Jakelin Troy shares with Dr Rosemary Grey how we can acknowledge Country in Gadi language.

Visit our collections

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2021, the University of Sydney Library showcased items from the collection that have been published by Sydney University Press, focusing on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and cultural heritage. Read the article here.

To mark National Reconciliation Week 2021, and the nearly three decades of Australia’s formal reconciliation process, the University of Sydney Library featured highlights from the collection by First Nations authors. These can be found through Library search either online, in our physical collection or at the Wingara Mura Research Centre.
Read the article here.

National Reconciliation Week May 27-June 3

National Reconciliation Week logo 2021

Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.

Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

(Source: Reconciliation Australia, 2021)

Everybody has a role a play in the reconciliation process and working towards collectively valuing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and histories. To mark National Reconciliation Week 2021, and the nearly three decades of Australia’s formal reconciliation process, the University of Sydney Library is featuring highlights from the collection by First Nations authors. These can be found through Library search either online, in our physical collection or at the Wingara Mura Research Centre.

Dark Emu: Black seeds agriculture or accident?

Pascoe, Bruce

Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for precolonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating and storing – behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. Gerritsen and Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further and challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie. Almost all the evidence comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources.
Find Dark Emu in Library Search

Finding the Heart of the Nation: The Journey of the Uluru Statement Towards Voice, Treaty and Truth

Mayor, Thomas

This is a book for all Australians. Since the Uluru Statement from the Heart was formed in 2017, Thomas Mayor has travelled around the country to promote its vision of a better future for Indigenous Australians. He’s visited communities big and small, often with the Uluru Statement canvas rolled up in a tube under his arm. Through the story of his own journey and interviews with 20 key people, Thomas taps into a deep sense of our shared humanity. The voices within these chapters make clear what the Uluru Statement is and why it is so important. And Thomas hopes you will be moved to join them, along with the growing movement of Australians who want to see substantive constitutional change. Thomas believes that we will only find the heart of our nation when the First peoples – the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders – are recognised with a representative Voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution. Thomas’s compelling work is full of Australian Indigenous voices that should be heard.
Find Finding the Heart of the Nation in Library Search


Saunders, Kirli

Kindred, Kirli Saunders debut poetry collection, is a pleasure to lose yourself in. Kirli has a keen eye for observation, humour and big themes that surround Love/Connection/Loss in an engaging style, complemented by evocative and poignant imagery. It talks to identity, culture, community and the role of Earth as healer. Kindred has the ability to grab hold of the personal in the universal and reflect this back to the reader.
Find Kindred in Library Search

My Tidda, My Sister : Stories of Strength and Resilience from Australia’s First Women

Silva, Marlee

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and society has existed on this continent for millennia. It’s a culture that manifests itself as the ultimate example of resilience, strength and beauty. It’s also a culture that has consistently been led by its women. My Tidda, My Sister shares the experiences of many Indigenous women and girls, brought together by author and host of the Tiddas 4 Tiddas podcast, Marlee Silva. The voices of First Nations’ women that Marlee weaves through the book provide a rebuttal to the idea that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’. For non-Indigenous women, it demonstrates the diversity of what success can look like and offers an insight into the lives of their Indigenous sisters and peers. Featuring colourful artwork by artist Rachael Sarra, this book is a celebration of the Indigenous female experience through truth-telling. Some stories are heart-warming, while others shine a light on the terrible realities for many Australian Indigenous women, both in the past and in the present. But what they all share is the ability to inspire and empower, creating a sisterhood for all Australian women.
Find My Tidda, My Sister in Library Search

Tell me why: the story of my life and my music

Roach, Archie

A powerful memoir of a true Australian legend: stolen child, musical and lyrical genius, and leader. No one has lived as many lives as Archie Roach – stolen child, seeker, teenage alcoholic, lover, father, musical and lyrical genius, and leader – but it took him almost a lifetime to find out who he really was. Roach was only two years old when he was forcibly removed from his family. Brought up by a series of foster parents until his early teens, his world imploded when he received a letter that spoke of a life he had no memory of. In this intimate, moving and often shocking memoir, Archie’s story is an extraordinary odyssey through love and heartbreak, family and community, survival and renewal – and the healing power of music. Overcoming enormous odds to find his story and his people, Archie voices the joy, pain and hope he found on his path through song to become the legendary singer-songwriter and storyteller that he is today – beloved by fans worldwide. Tell Me Why is a stunning account of resilience and the strength of spirit – and of a great love story.
Find Tell Me Why in Library Search

Growing Up in Aboriginal Australia

Heiss, Anita (Ed)

What is it like to grow up Aboriginal in Australia? This anthology, compiled by award-winning author Anita Heiss, attempts to showcase as many diverse voices, experiences and stories as possible in order to answer that question. Each account reveals, to some degree, the impacts of invasion and colonisation – on language, on country, on ways of life, and on how people are treated daily in the community, the education system, the workplace and friendship groups.Accounts from well-known authors and high-profile identities sit alongside newly discovered voices of all ages, with experiences spanning coastal and desert regions, cities and remote communities. All of them speak to the heart – sometimes calling for empathy, oftentimes challenging stereotypes, always demanding respect.This groundbreaking anthology aims to enlighten, inspire and educate about the lives of Aboriginal people in Australia today.Contributors include: Tony Birch, Deborah Cheetham, Adam Goodes, Terri Janke, Patrick Johnson, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Jack Latimore, Celeste Liddle, Amy McQuire, Kerry Reed-Gilbert, Miranda Tapsell, Jared Thomas, Aileen Walsh, Alexis West, Tara June Winch, and many, many more.
Find Growing Up in Aboriginal Australia in Library Search

The Yield

Winch, Tara June


The yield in English is the reaping, the things that man can take from the land. In the language of the Wiradjuri yield is the things you give to, the movement, the space between things: baayanha. Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind. August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends she endeavours to save their land — a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river. “The Yield” is the story of a people and a culture dispossessed. But it is as much a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity.
Find The Yield in Library Search

The White Girl

Birch, Tony

A searing new novel from leading Indigenous storyteller Tony Birch that explores the lengths we will go to in order to save the people we love. Odette Brown has lived her whole life on the fringes of a small country town. After her daughter disappeared and left her with her granddaughter Sissy to raise on her own, Odette has managed to stay under the radar of the welfare authorities who are removing fair-skinned Aboriginal children from their families. When a new policeman arrives in town, determined to enforce the law, Odette must risk everything to save Sissy and protect everything she loves. In The White Girl, Miles-Franklin-shortlisted author Tony Birch shines a spotlight on the 1960s and the devastating government policy of taking Indigenous children from their families.
Find The White Girl in Library Search

Truganini : Journey through the apocalypse

Pybus, Cassandra

Cassandra Pybus’s ancestors told a story of an old Aboriginal woman who would wander across their farm on Bruny Island, in south-east Tasmania, in the 1850s and 1860s. As a child, Cassandra didn’t know this woman was Truganini, and that Truganini was walking over the country of her clan, the Nuenonne. For nearly seven decades, Truganini lived through a psychological and cultural shift more extreme than we can imagine. But her life was much more than a regrettable tragedy. Now Cassandra has examined the original eyewitness accounts to write Truganini’s extraordinary story in full. Hardly more than a child, Truganini managed to survive the devastation of the 1820s, when the clans of south-eastern Tasmania were all but extinguished. She spent five years on a journey around Tasmania, across rugged highlands and through barely penetrable forests, with George Augustus Robinson, the self-styled missionary who was collecting the survivors to send them into exile on Flinders Island. She has become an international icon for a monumental tragedy – the so-called extinction of the original people of Tasmania. Truganini’s story is inspiring and haunting – a journey through the apocalypse.
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Australia Day

Grant, Stan

As uncomfortable as it is, we need to reckon with our history. On January 26, no Australian can really look away. There are the hard questions we ask of ourselves on Australia Day. Since publishing his critically acclaimed, Walkley Award-winning, bestselling memoir Talking to My Country in early 2016, Stan Grant has been crossing the country, talking to huge crowds everywhere about how racism is at the heart of our history and the Australian dream. But Stan knows this is not where the story ends. In this book, Australia Day, his long-awaited follow up to Talking to My Country, Stan talks about reconciliation and the indigenous struggle for belonging and identity in Australia, and about what it means to be Australian. A sad, wise, beautiful, reflective and troubled book, Australia Day asks the questions that have to be asked, that no else seems to be asking. Who are we? What is our country? How do we move forward from here?
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Too Much Lip

Lucashenko, Melissa

A dark and funny new novel from the multi-award-winning author of Mullumbimby. Too much lip, her old problem from way back. And the older she got, the harder it seemed to get to swallow her opinions. The avalanche of bullshit in the world would drown her if she let it; the least she could do was raise her voice in anger.

Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things – her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she’s an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley. Kerry plans to spend twenty-four hours, tops, over the border. She quickly discovers, though, that Bundjalung country has a funny way of grabbing on to people. Old family wounds open as the Salters fight to stop the development of their beloved river. And the unexpected arrival on the scene of a good-looking dugai fella intent on loving her up only adds more trouble – but then trouble is Kerry’s middle name.

Gritty and darkly hilarious, Too Much Lip offers redemption and forgiveness where none seems possible.
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Butterfly Song

Janke, Terri

Tarena Shaw has just finished her law degree but isn’t sure she wants to be a lawyer after all. What place does a black lawyer have in a white system? Does everyone in Sydney feel like a turtle without a shell?

Drawn to Thursday Island, the home of her grandparents, Tarena is persuaded by her family to take on her first case. Part of the evidence is a man with a guitar and a very special song . . .

Butterfly Song moves from the pearling days of the Torres Strait to the ebb and flow of big-city life, with a warm and funny modern heroine whose story reaches across cultures.
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Song Spirals : Sharing women’s wisdom of Country through songlines

Gay’wu Group of Women

We want you to come with us on our journey, our journey of songspirals. Songspirals are the essence of people in this land, the essence of every clan. We belong to the land and it belongs to us. We sing to the land, sing about the land. We are that land. It sings to us.’ Aboriginal Australians are the longest surviving human culture on earth, and at the heart of Aboriginal culture is song. These ancient narratives of landscape have often been described as a means of navigating across vast distances without a map, but they are much, much more than this. Songspirals are sung by Aboriginal people to awaken Country, to make and remake the life-giving connections between people and place. Songspirals are radically different ways of understanding the relationship people can have with the landscape. For Yolngu people from North East Arnhem Land, women and men play different roles in bringing songlines to life, yet the vast majority of what has been published is about men’s songlines. Songspirals is a rare opportunity for outsiders to experience Aboriginal women’s role in crying the songlines in a very authentic and direct form.
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Fire Country : How indigenous fire management could help save Australia

Steffensen, Victor

Delving deep into the Australian landscape and the environmental challenges we face, Fire Country is a powerful account from Indigenous land management expert Victor Steffensen on how the revival of Indigenous fire practices, including improved ’reading’ of country and undertaking ’cool burns’, could help to restore our nation.

Victor developed a passion for traditional cultural and ecological knowledge from a young age, but it was after leaving high school that Victor met two Elders who became his mentors, particularly to revive cultural burning. Developed over many generations, this knowledge shows clearly that Australia actually needs fire – with burning done in a controlled manner – for land care and healing.

Victor’s story is unassuming and honest, written in a way that reflects the nature of yarning. And while some of the knowledge shared in his book may be unclear to western world views, there is much evidence that, if adopted, it could benefit all Australians.
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Welcome to Country : a travel guide to Indigenous Australia

Langton, Marcia; Fitzgerald, Nina; Atkinson, Amba-Rose

This book is essential for anyone travelling around Australia who wants to learn more about the culture that has thrived here for over 50,000 years. It also offers the chance to enjoy tourism opportunities that will show you a different side of this fascinating country — one that remains dynamic, and is filled with openness and diversity.
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A Question of Colour : My journey to belonging

Lees, Patricia and Lees, Adam

‘These two children have been in our Home in Townsville for more than two years, and in view of their very dark colouring, have not been assimilated into the white race. Every effort has been made to place them in a foster home without success because of their colour.’ Queensland State Children’s Department correspondence, 21 June 1960. The removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families remains a dark chapter in Australia’s history. Pattie Lees was just ten-years-old when she and her four siblings were separated from their mother on the grounds of neglect and placed into State care. Believing she was being shipped and exiled to Africa, Pattie was ultimately fated to spend the rest of her childhood on the island once dubbed ‘Australia’s Alcatraz’ -Palm Island Aboriginal Settlement, off the coast of Queensland. A Question of Colour; my journey to belonging provides a first-hand account of Pattie’s experiences as a ‘fair-skinned Aboriginal’ during Australia’s assimilationist policy era and recounts her survival following a decade of sexual, physical and emotional abuse as a Ward of the State. A Question of Colour is a deeply moving and powerful testimony to the resilience of a young girl, her identity and her journey to belong.
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Salt : Selected Stories and Essays

Pascoe, Bruce

A collection of stories and essays by the award-winning author of Dark Emu, showcasing his shimmering genius across a lifetime of work. This volume of Bruce Pascoe’s best and most celebrated stories and essays, collected here for the first time, traverses his long career and explores his enduring fascination with Australia’s landscape, culture and history. Featuring new fiction alongside Pascoe’s most revered and thought-provoking nonfiction – including from his modern classic Dark Emu – Salt distils the intellect, passion and virtuosity of his work. It’s time all Australians know the range and depth of this most marvellous of our writers.
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Undermined: Tales from the Kimberly

Umbrella Entertainment

Australia’s vast and unspoiled Kimberley region is under threat, with mining, pastoralism and irrigated agriculture driving an unprecedented land grab. UNDERMINED investigates the politics of an area branded “the future economic powerhouse of Australia”, and what this means for our First People and their unique cultural landscapes.

As pressure from industry exposes the limits of Indigenous land rights, what will remain of over 200 remote Aboriginal communities? Nominated for Best Documentary at the Melbourne International Film Festival

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Vote Yes for Aborigines

Ronin Films

A documentary about the 1967 Referendum and the fight for citizenship rights for Aborigines. It marks the 40th anniversary of the occasion, celebrating its historical significance and contemporary relevance.

“The referendum was a point that gave incredible uplift and joy to Aboriginal people right across this country. In that sense we did gain something from it. But if you looked at it from that point on, I just say that we never took another step forward.” – Dr John Maynard, 2006.


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Why Me? – Stolen Generations

Ronin Films

This documentary is one of the most compelling films on this subject that we have yet seen. We are confident that it will become a landmark film in the fullness of time. Much of its power comes from its beautifully staged re-enactments of key moments in the lives of the individuals who tell their stories in the film.

WHY ME? contains the stories of five stolen children who are now adults trying to get on with their lives. The stories are told using powerful period re-enactments, which put the viewer in touch with the emotional journeys of the five children.

The film places the children’s experience in the context of the government policies that led to their removal. These members of the most recent stolen generations had a different experience and were removed under different conditions than the earlier more publicised generations. The government’s philosophy had changed and its methods were more subtle, but the results were as cruel as ever, and children were removed more efficiently and in greater numbers than before.

The film looks at the enormous impact that being taken from their families had on these five people. Children who are taken away at a young age miss the opportunity to bond with their parents and their families, and this is something that affects them for life. The loss of family has tremendous repercussions, this is a simple human truth.

A recurring theme through the film is the sense they all experience of being an outsider wherever they are. But the film is not just a description of blighted lives. Each of the people featured here has struggled courageously to find a direction for themselves, often against difficult odds. In the end everyone has to deal with the hand they have been dealt in life, and this film documents and celebrates the courage and hope that these individuals have displayed on their particular journeys.

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In My Blood It Runs

Bonsai Film

An intimate and compassionate observational documentary from the perspective of a 10-year-old Aboriginal boy in Alice Springs, Australia, struggling to balance his traditional Arrernte/Garrwa upbringing with a state education.

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Putuparri and the Rainmakers

Ronin Films

Putuparri and the Rainmakers is a universal story about the sacred relationship between people and place. It takes audiences on a rare and emotional journey to meet the traditional rainmakers of Australia’s Great Sandy Desert who have fought a twenty-year battle to win back their traditional homeland.

The film spans ten transformative years in the life of Tom ‘Putuparri’ Lawford as he navigates the deep chasm between his Western upbringing and his growing determination to fight for his family’s homeland. A trip back to his grandparents’ country in the desert begins the process of cultural awakening. Putuparri is shocked to learn that the dreamtime myths are not just stories, that there is a country called Kurtal and a snake spirit that is the subject of an elaborate rainmaking ritual.

Putuparri is a man caught between two worlds: the deeply spiritual universe of his people’s traditional culture and his life in modern society where he struggles with alcoholism and domestic violence. As he reconnects with his ancestral lands and learns about his traditional culture he begins to accept his future as a leader of his people and shoulders his responsibility to pass this knowledge on to the next generation.

Set against the backdrop of their long fight to reclaim their traditional lands, Putuparri and the Rainmakers is an emotional, visually breathtaking story of love, hope and the survival of Aboriginal law and culture against all odds.

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