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- author Jackie French

Saturday, 9 July 2011

KBR Recommends... Jandamarra & the Bunuba Resistance


It seems to be the year of Jandamarra with the Mitch Torres ABC doco-drama and the greatly anticipated Black Swan stage play coming to the Kimberley (the tradition homeland of Jandamarra) at the end of this month.

What perfect timing for the greatly anticipated new edition of the 1998 WA Premier's Book Award winner to be released.

Jandamarra and the Bunuba Resistance is the thrilling true story of the great Aboriginal resistance fighter, Jandamarra. Jandamarra is a legend, forever etched into the history of the Australian landscape.

Set in the magnificent Kimberley outback during the late nineteenth century, the last stage of Australia’s invasion is about to be played out in the lands of the Bunuba people. Leases are marked across Aboriginal country covering huge areas and vast herds of cattle and sheep. Amidst the chaos and turmoil that develops, extraordinary and sometimes contradictory relationships develop.


Public interest in the Jandamarra story is growing rapidly. A docu-drama has been screened on ABC in May 2011, and the Jandamarra stage play, which premiered in a sell-out season at the 2008 Perth International Arts Festival, will be performed in its Kimberley homeland in July and August of 2011.

Jandamarra and the Bunuba Resistance is a powerful collaboration between a non-Indigenous historian and the Indigenous custodian of the Jandamarra story. Banjo Woorunmurra was the repository of much of his people’s history and stories. The editor, Howard Pedersen, was a university student when he first sourced material for his thesis on Jandamarra. He has since worked with a range of Aboriginal organisations and government  departments.


Jandamarra died on his own soil defending his country. A true Australian hero. His story has it all – blood, betrayal, sex, war, family, mateship and magic; history that speaks to the present day. Howard Pedersen tells it beautifully, deftly weaving the many threads. Gives us the broad sweep and the close up, puts us into the times right at the turning points. It’s a page turner that should be on every school syllabus. - Paul Kelly, Australian music legend

Jandamarra and the Bunuba Resistance, Magabala Books, July 2011 re-release, $24.95RRP, isbn 9781875641604

Magabala Books is a not-for-profit Aboriginal Corporation based in Broome that aims to promote, preserve and publish Indigenous Australian culture.

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