A Dumping Ground: A history of the Cherbourg Aboriginal Settlement

This book was first published in 2001 by the University of Queensland Press. About 500 copies were sold over an eight year period. For more than a decade it was out of print. So I took on the task of publishing a second edition.

The book was the wiinner of NSW Premiers History Award: State Records Prize 2002. The Judges commented

A Dumping Ground: A History of the Cherbourg Settlement is a powerful and evocative account of the impact of Government policy on the lives of the Aboriginal people from this community. The work acknowledges the enduring power of Aboriginal testimony, juxtaposing the white official record with moving oral histories from those whose lives were affected by the alien structures of discipline imposed by successive governments. The result is a confident and challenging narrative history that engages creatively and unpretentiously with theory. It is also a careful study of government policy and practice: an instructive insight into the hearts and minds of those who saw themselves as protectors.

Thom Blake maintains an outstanding standard of scholarly and meticulous research using archival sources and oral history to tell this story of government attempts to extinguish the cultural life of an Aboriginal community. He captures the spirit and sense of place that endured and prospered, despite these efforts. A Dumping Ground: A History of the Cherbourg Settlement is a story that must not be forgotten.

Yalanya - that's the way it is: the Life and story of Don Kawanji Brady

Don Brady (Kawanji) was a prominent Aboriginal leader in Queensland throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He was a descendant of the Gu Gu Yalanji people from the Cape York region.

Don grew up on Palm Island Aboriginal Settlement and in his twenties worked as a missionary for the Aborigines Inland Mission. He married Aileen Willis, a Kullilli woman in Cherbourg in 1952. In 1964, he moved to Brisbane to work among the Aboriginal community as a Methodist pastor. He became a leader in political campaigns to improve the status and conditions of Aboriginal and Islander people in Queensland.

He was a foundation member of the Brisbane Tribal Council and actively involved in the campaign to abolish the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islander Act. Don was instrumental in the establishment of the Aboriginal Legal Aid, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Housing and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Service in Queensland. He was active in the revival of dance in eastern Australia with the Yelanji dance group.

Kawanji remains an inspiration to First Nations people in Australia.

Order books

Books are available from the State Library of Queensland bookshop and Avid Reader, West End. Direct orders also available.

A Dumping Ground $27.50
Yalanya - the life and story of Don Kawangi Brady   $29.50

Contact Thom Blake for order details.