The Mind of a Thief

Overview

Exploring the history of the Wiradjuri people, the conflict of colonization, their mythologies, and their attachment to the land, author Patti Miller reveals both her own story and the position of Aboriginal people in today’s society in this fascinating memoir. For 40,000 years, the Central New South Wales area of Wellington was Aboriginal Wiradjuri land. Following the arrival of white men, it became a penal settlement, a mission station, a gold-mining town, and a farming center with a history of white comfort ...

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Overview

Exploring the history of the Wiradjuri people, the conflict of colonization, their mythologies, and their attachment to the land, author Patti Miller reveals both her own story and the position of Aboriginal people in today’s society in this fascinating memoir. For 40,000 years, the Central New South Wales area of Wellington was Aboriginal Wiradjuri land. Following the arrival of white men, it became a penal settlement, a mission station, a gold-mining town, and a farming center with a history of white comfort and black marginalization. In the late 20th century, it was also the subject of the first post-Mabo native title claim, bringing new hope—and controversy—to the area and its people. Patti, a local of the area, explores Australian identity in relation to her beloved but stolen country. Black and white politics, the processes of colonization, family mythologies, generational conflict, and the power of place are evoked as she weaves a story that is very personal and, at the same time, a universal tale of belonging.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Native title is a complex and vexing issue. This thoughtful, well-researched, and beautifully written personal story helps us to understand why it is so important to indigenous people.”  —Herald Sun

“Deals with the big issues. Given patience, the book unfolds into one of the best descriptions I've seen of the native title mediation process. This is complex stuff, but Miller sets it all out calmly and clearly, using the craft of storytelling.”  —Weekend Australian

"A seamless narrative. [Miller’s] powers of observation give her stories a colourful cohesion. She has produced a remarkably fluid, virtuoso piece of writing."  —Saturday Age

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780702249365
  • Publisher: University of Queensland Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Patti Miller has been a writing instructor for more than 20 years. She is the author of many books, including Child, The Last One Who Remembers, The Memoir Book, Whatever the Gods Do, and Writing Your Life.

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Table of Contents

1 Blackfellas 1

2 Wiradjuri Land 7

3 Identity Terror 13

4 Dreaming 22

5 Heading Home - and Leaving 32

6 Keeping Out of Trouble 40

7 Memory and Place 47

8 The Common and Nanima Reserve 54

9 In Search of an Inland Sea 59

10 Who Will Talk to Me? 69

11 The Mind of a Thief 72

12 The Missionaries' Diaries 87

13 More Inclined to Read than Work 104

14 Living at Nanima Reserve 110

15 Thieving Ancestors 122

16 Whose Native Title? 129

17 A Wild Irishman 139

18 Gold 146

19 Native Title Fight 151

20 Native Title Histories 158

21 Patrick Reidy and the Wiradjuri 164

22 The Town Historian 172

23 Elders Usurped 183

24 The Niece of Jimmy Governor 187

25 Trying to Talk to Rose 206

26 Searching for the Bora 210

27 Not Taking Nonsense 216

28 A Wiradjuri Man 227

29 Identity 234

30 Who Belongs? 241

31 Australia Day 245

32 Sacred Sites 256

33 What Happens in Wellington 264

34 Country Rose 270

35 Native Title 287

Epilogue 291

Acknowledgements 292

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