The boy had a Bunuba name but he was called Pigeon. His job was to herd the sheep and for this he was paid in flour and sugar. But he was destined to be the leader of his people; to endure the warring of his conscience and find the courage to embrace his true identity. Never-the-less, to the settlers, he was just an outlaw. This story is about a journey of the Spirit.
Pigeon was many things on the path to becoming who he was born to be. He was in sync with the elements and gifted with natural athletic ability, which served him well in times when his people were chained and jailed, and others sent away on ships never to return.
His early journey into his true self began when he was taken by the Bunuba Elders and taught the ancient laws of his people. He was informed of the many ‘tests of courage’ that would precede his becoming a Bunuba warrior. But these tests of courage would accompany him throughout his short life.
His transformation to Jandamarra came when he sought refuge in a mountain cave to escape capture while badly wounded by bullets. Initially cared for by Bunuba women, it was when he lay beside the living water, drifting in and out of reality, that the ancestors ‘sang away his pain’ and ‘hid his spirit in a stone’ to make him fearless and invisible.
What followed was destiny; an example to his people to never give up the fight for their land. He faced it dreaming of the living water.
Author Mark Greenwood shares a powerful and moving story drawn from Australian history. The exceptional illustrations by Terry Denton are created using pencil, pen and ink and watercolour on Arches paper. The front and back fly pages are identical and show a map of the region where the story takes place.
- Review by Anastasia
Author: Mark Greenwood
Illustrator: Terry Denton
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $29.99 RRP
Publication Date: March 2013
For ages: 7 - 12 years old
Type: Picture book, Australian history