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Feb 27, 2010
Described as a subversive race through mission days, Marie Munkara's Every Secret Thing has just won the Northern Territory Book of the Year. Earlier in manuscript form it won the prestigious David Unaipon Award.
.Pictured at right is Marie Munkara after receiving the award.
Panel member and Professor of Writing, Gail Jones said of Every Secret Thing:
‘Like Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria, this is a landmark text in indigenous writing. It is a work of immense spirit, ingenuity and narrative confidence.’
‘Set on a mission in the Northern Territory, Every Secret Thing examines with wise and witty irreverence the collision of Catholic and indigenous cultures, figured here as a drama of comic misunderstandings between the Mission Mob and the Bush Mob.
‘There is a beautiful humanity to both the characters and the tale and all is encompassed in brilliant humour, canny observations and a splendidly clever social vision.
‘Particularly impressive is the way in which the political intelligence of the novel – regarding important matters like cultural depredation, stolen generations and sexual abuse – are told not in the mode of elegy but through an understanding of spiritual and cultural resistance. It is a robust and audacious critique of white incursion, but also a celebration of the solidarity, joy, community and vigour that persists with spiritual integrity in Aboriginal communities.’
From UQP:
When culture and faith collide...nothing is sacred
In the Aboriginal missions of far northern Australia, it was a battle between saving souls and saving traditional culture.
Every Secret Thing is a rough, tough, hilarious portrayal of the Bush Mob and the Mission Mob, and the hapless clergy trying to convert them. In these tales, everyone is fair game. At once playful and sharp, Marie Munkara's wonderfully original stories cast a taunting new light on the mission era in Australia.
'told with biting wit and riotous humour'
- Judges' comments, Queensland Premier's Literary Awards (2008)
Mission days: Marie Munkara and Roy Kennedy on
AWAYE! ABC Radio listen here
Marie Munkara wins 2010 Northern Territory Book of the Year!
by Bob Gosford in The Northern Myth (CrikeyBlogs): click here 
INTERVIEW: Late last year Bob Gosford published a two part interview with Marie – you can read them for your self here and here.
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Posted: Feb 27, 2010 7:29pm
Dec 17, 2009

How to say Merry Christmas in Australia
Often very's not unusual for Christmas Day in Australia to be 40 degrees Celsius, or over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The traditional Christmas meal includes a turkey and ham dinner followed by plum pudding with brandy custard. Nowadays this heavy meal is left to "Christmas in July" celebrations, when a hot meal can be enjoyed properly. (I was going to describe it as a 'hot and heavy meal' but thought better of it)
Most Australians have their Christmas dinner at midday. Some like to be outdoors, e.g. beach, a bend in the river, or a park. Their Christmas meal might include a big feed of oysters and prawns, a turkey salad, prosciutto with rockmelon, black cherries, watermelon, and (too much) beer and wine. 
Due to fire hazard threats, open fires are often banned. This means the planned barbecue might be called off and Plan B goes into effect. The following video shows more about Christmas Aussie-Style

Santa Claus has been know to arrive on a surfboard, in the back of a ute, by helicopter or in a surf lifesaving boat. Everyone's heard of the "Six White Boomers" hauling Santa's sleigh around Australia instead of the regular team of reindeer. If not, listen to the song in this video:
Christmas Tree
by Western Australian doctor Peter Terren,
artist in electricity. See Tesla Down Under. Peter built a Tesla Christmas tree. This photo used a 91 second exposure to show it in action. He also details the project at the site.
Carols by Candlelight
- a tradition which commenced in Melbourne in 1937 and is held every year. Thousands of people gather in the cities to sing Christmas carols and other inspiring songs. Australian celebrities get involved, e.g. Olivia Newton-John  hosted the carols in 2000.
Proceeds go to Vision Australia.
VIDEO: The Prayer- Anthony Callea, Carols By Candlelight 2004 Anthony Callea's debut single, The Prayer, created the record for the fastest-selling and highest-selling #1 single by an Australian artist
VIDEO: O Holy Night - Melbourne 2007, Carols by Candlelight - here are the lyrics so you can sing along...
  O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
  It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
  Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
  Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.
  A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
  For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
  Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angels' voices!
  O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
  O night divine!
  O night, O night divine!

NSW Christmas Bush
-an Australian native plant, Ceratopetalum gummiferum Pictured is a NSW Christmas Bush in full flower. Actually in this image the flowers are all gone (they are small and cream) and the red bracts are what creates the stunning Christmas display. This stage lasts for a number of weeks on the bush and for 10 days or so once cut and put in a vase. BUT they drink copious amounts of water daily in a vase. The bush grows into a small tree.
Perhaps Australia's worst Christmas was in 1974, when Cyclone Tracey devastated Darwin in the Northern Territory. More than 60 people were killed. Darwin Museum's exhibition: Cyclone Tracy
VIDEO: CycloneTracy 1974 (Santa Never Made It Into Darwin) Cyclone Tracy was a devastating event that affected Darwin intensely... This is a tribute to those that died in the incident, those that survived, those that helped and those that remember the power of nature.

VIDEO: Original newsreel of the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy which hit Darwin on Christmas 1974. 34 years later, these images are still as horrifying as ever.

Dec 8, 2009

SAVE OUR CAMELS - update is bad news!

Dear friend,
I have just sent a letter to the Northern Territory Government expressing my disappointment over the current cull of 3000 camels taking place near Docker River, Northern Territory Australia. Please click on the link below and help give the camels a voice!
Thank you for caring.

Original message:
Dear friends, I have just sent a letter to the Northern Territory Government expressing my concerns over the proposed cull of 3000 camels at Docker River, Northern Territory Australia. Please join me in speaking up for camels - together we can be their voice!
Please copy the link below into your web browser to help:
Thank you for caring.
Recently, the Northern Territory government announced plans to kill 3000 camels by means of aerial shooting in the township of Docker River.
Thirsty and in search of water, the camels converged on the community of Docker River. Instead of assisting the community by building barriers to keep the camels out of the township and investing in long term solutions such as research into birth control or the construction of a manmade waterhole for the camels to drink from, the government are planning to herd the animals away from the town, shoot them and leave their bodies to rot.
Please take a moment to voice your concerns ...DISAPPOINTMENT.. over the PRESENT cull. Simply fill in the form and click send.
Personal letters carry more weight, but please keep them polite!
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Posted: Dec 8, 2009 4:35am


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Jenny Dooley
, 3, 2 children
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