Survival in Our Own Land

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Survival in our Own Land—'Aboriginal' Experiences in 'South Australia' since 1836 is not a typical addition to Australian literature about 'Aborigines'. It presents history in South Australia for the first time from the point of view of the Nungas, as many Aboriginal people call themselves, showing Goonyas, as Europeans are called, as the invaders.

Almost 150 Nungas tell how the Goonya invasion and their implementation of Goonya law and policy have affected Aboriginal people.

Their stories, in prose and poetry, speak volumes of much that has previously been omitted from history and text books, and many are told for the first time.

Extracts from archival documents, many never before published, are included to illustrate attitudes and action which have caused the death of many Aboriginal peoples and the destruction of much of their culture.

Chapters include issues like the imposition of clothes, rations and British laws; conflict and its causes; legislation including the detested 'exemption' provision; the burden of bureaucracy; land, land rights, and the British nuclear tests at Maralinga; education and language; employment and exploitation; particular effects of invasion and the alien society on men, women and children; missionary activities with separate chapters on the sixteen major missions; discrimination; identity and aspirations; and a very substantial chapter on achievements, awards and contributions in the arts, education, community service, military service and sport.

332 photographs and facsimiles from over 40 private and institutional collections are a visual feast. Other features are two specially drawn maps, extensive footnotes and a full list of sources. In addition to the comprehensive general index, there are also separate index of place names, both Nunga and Goonya, and an index of Nunga personal names.

Survival in our Own Land provides a rare and unsurpassed insight, a vital help in understanding the Indigenous position.


Part 1: In the Beginning 1. Before and after 2. From dignity to cast-offs: clothing 3. From bush tucker to poison: rations

Part 2: 'British Subjects' 4. The foreigners' laws 5. 'Outrages and affrays': conflict 6. 'Under the Act': legislation 7. The Nunga people's burden: bureaucracy 8. Punishment and police

Part 3: The Land our Mother 9. Losing our birthright 10. Aboriginal land rights by Bill Edwards 11. 'Atom bombs before Aborigines': Maralinga

Part 4: Goonya ways 12. Foreign ways within four walls: education 13. Losing our mother tongues: language 14. Work for wages: employment 15. Work for wages: exploitation 16. Men 17. Women 18. 'The hope for the future': children

Part 5: The Struggle for Souls 19. Bible and bell: The missions 20. Poonindie 21. Point McLeay 22. Kopperamanna and Killalpaninna 23. Point Pearce 24. Koonibba 25. United 'Aborigines' Missions and Oodnadatta 26. Colebrook 27. Swan Reach and Gerard 28. Nepabunna 29. Ooldea and Yalata 30. Umeewarra 31. Finniss Springs 32. Ernabella

Part 6: Nunga now and always 33. Second class citizens: discrimination 34. Making our mark in the Goonya world: achievements 35. Nungas now and always: aspirations and identity

Epilogue References Notes and sources Indexes - General - Goonya Place Names - Nunga Place Names - Group Names - Nunga Names

A preview of select pages is available at SA Memory.

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Cite this page

Korff, J 2021, Survival in Our Own Land, <>, retrieved 16 June 2024

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