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Most Australians live on the narrow coastal strip that fringes our island continent. For Aboriginal people a place comes into being each time it is sung, and it is through this process that places are learned about and cared for. These songs can be for all of us, in the places where Aboriginal stories are rapidly overwritten with the grids of roads and towns. Together, Tony Perkins and Margaret Somerville explore one coastal group's experience in maintaining the stories and songs of their country: Perkins' Gumbaynggirr homeland in mid-north coast New South Wales. These stories and songs are unique in their particularities, yet universal in their sense of knowledge, understanding and openness to sharing.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780855757113
ISBN-10: 0855757116
Format: Paperback
(140mm x 215mm x 20mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: Aboriginal Studies Press
Publisher: Aboriginal Studies Press
Publish Date: 1-May-2010
Country of Publication: Australia

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Book Review: Singing the Coast by Tony Perkins - Reviewed by (22 Jul 2010)

Tony Perkins and Margaret Somerville embarked on a research project that lasted a decade. Using the metaphor of singing, they set out to explore the mid-north coastal area of New South Wales, Perkins’ Gumbaynggirr homeland, to discover how the people who live there sing the language. The book compiles original recorded interviews, stories of customs and rituals, songs, poems and music, and their place in the lives of the Gumbaynggirr people. The project included deep-mapping work: locating and travelling to the original areas and learning the stories connected to them. These recordings have been translated from oral to written word to reach a wider audience; they offer non-Indigenous people a deeper understanding of the relationship between Indigenous people, place and identity, their connection to the earth and all living things, including the cycles of the moon and the seas and the inextricable link between present and past. The prose is detailed, moving and poetic. This is ideal reading for anyone interested in aboriginal studies, Australian history or postcolonial studies, or simply for the pleasure of a spiritual experience through words, images and information.


Author Biography - Tony Perkins

Margaret Somerville has been working with Aboriginal communities in eastern Australia for more than 20 years. She is the author of "The Sun Dancin' People and Place in Coonabarabran" and "Wildflowering: The Life and Places of Kathleen McArthur." Tony Perkins is the grandson of Aboriginal Elder and speaker of three tribal languages Clarrie Skinner. He reignited the Yarrawarra Aboriginal Corporation in order to promote the Aboriginal culture and tradition of the Garby Elders.

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