Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Journey Travelled

Hey, here is a great book:

The cover of Murray Arnold's book shows an image of Mokare', a man who played a pivotal role liaising between the local Menang population and colonisers in the 1820-1830s. I like everything about this book cover ... the dots and stripes across the body correlate to both Mokare's culture and the town hall. You can walk down the main drag and when you get to the library, his statue and the town hall are equidistant to each other.

It's not only the cover though. Murray Arnold has taken up the challenge of turning the wealth of available material into a coherent narrative of what exactly happened in King George Sound in the years between first contact and 1926. Nice work, Murray. A Journey Travelled is written in a vivid, layman's language which I appreciate, (because I'm one of those academics who rail against the brick wall that academia cements itself inside.) This is an everywoman's readable history of the great southern region*. Murray Arnold's epilogue, much like the final page in Kim Scott's That Deadman Dance, is quite devastating. A Journey Travelled is a good read and it's a really important addition to the small canon of recorded history about the impact of colonisation on the south coast of Western Australia.


  1. * Derek Llewellyn Jones had nothing on post colonial King George Sound, so there you go :~)

  2. It's great because it's a new rendition of an old history that hasn't really been covered so comprehensively before.

  3. Yes, especially from 1850's onwards..

  4. I've read it too & agree that it's well worth getting hold of. I also appreciated the accessible style & the wealth of interesting detail. eg that in 1901 20% of West Australians lived in dwellings of canvas or calico(ie tents). Try telling that to kids today!
    Not totally convinced about Murray's conclusions about why there was an absence of armed conflict in these parts tho. My take on it is that the world is made up of 2 types of people: those who respond to difference/conflict by saying "lets go get 'em" & those who respond by saying "lets have a chat about this". I think that fortunately in these parts the people with influence, both wadjella & Menang, tended towards the latter so that is why it went well.
    I reflect on this as I despair about the "Anzackary" that fills the local air this weekend.

  5. Thanks for the recommendation. I will come back to this one day when I have space in my head for it. Right now I am eyeball deep in research for my next thing.

    It is a topic of interest to me and I would like to read it and then reread (for the third time) Scott's fabulous book.