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King Brown Country: The Betrayal of Papunya

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Summary

“Why don’t you check out Papunya? It’s the sniffing capital of Australia, it’s a Bermuda triangle for taxpayer funds. Nobody in the NT government gives a rats. The council just tossed out World Vision. People are frightened to talk.”

For award-winning journalist Russell Skelton a five year journey of inquiry that coincided with one of the biggest shifts in indigenous policy in Australian history began on the day he received this email.

Set with the backdrop of Papunya, a Northern Territory Aboriginal community whose history showed so much promise but whose dysfunction is now more prominent than its famous artwork, King Brown Country is a book that had to be written.

Digging down into the core of indigenous issues today, Skelton exposes unmitigated misery, shocking levels of neglect and the devastating consequences of substance abuse. But above all, he reveals how systematic failure of indigenous policy betrayed a once secure community. He also introduces us to Alison Anderson, the woman whose presence has so dominated Papunya and the politics of the Northern Territory.

King Brown Country is a powerful and shaming portrait of a community in crisis. Papunya remains an emblem for the failure of all Australians to come to terms with the continent’s oldest inhabitants.

Easily picked up, King Brown Country is a juicy read of scandals, outrageous behaviour, whispers of impropriety and millions of dollars in funding.—Koori Mail [1]

The book sold out three times in the Northern Territory.

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Footnotes

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1. ^ 'Revealing look at a community ins severe crisis', Koori Mail 490 p.32

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