One of Australia's finest essayists, the first to cut through 'the great Australian silence' to convey the richness and uniqueness of Aboriginal culture to settler Australians
'The most literate and persuasive of all contributions on Australia's Indigenous people' —Marcia Langton
W.E.H. Stanner's words changed Australia. In his 1968 Boyer Lectures he exposed a 'cult of forgetfulness practised on a national scale', regarding the fate of First Nations people, for which he coined the phrase 'the great Australian silence'. And in his essay 'Durmugam' he provided an unforgettable portrait of a warrior's attempt to hold back cultural change.
The pieces collected here span Stanner's career as well as the history of Australian race relations. They reveal the extraordinary scholarship, humanity and vision of one of Australia's finest essayists. Stanner's writings remain relevant in a time of reckoning with white Australia's injustices against Aboriginal people and the path to reconciliation.
With an introduction by Robert Manne
'Bill Stanner was a superb essayist with a wonderful turn of phrase and ever fresh prose. He always had important things to say, which have not lost their relevance. It is wonderful that they will now be available to a new and larger audience.' —Henry Reynolds
'Stanner's essays still hold their own among this country's finest writings on matters black and white.' —Noel Pearson