The Federation Press

Can These Bones Live?

The question of non-Aboriginal Australia


’White Australians talk about the “Aboriginal problem”. The first this is to define the issue facing us non-Aboriginals. Is it an Aboriginal problem at all? I would suggest not. The problem is ours ...’

So starts Veronica Brady as she seeks the road to reconciliation. But how can there be true and lasting reconciliation if we non-Aboriginals do not understand our historical and cultural assumptions?

Why is reconciliation with Australia’s Aborigines so peculiarly hard for the country’s white population? Veronica Brady asks how it is that we failed to understand the peoples whose land we occupied. Why have we found it so difficulty to recognise Aborigines as human beings with skills, wisdom and history very different to ours but equally valid.

Brady explores these issues by looking at the attitudes, hopes and fears we brought with us, and the ways in which these show themselves in fiction from early days to contemporary works like Oscar and Lucinda and My Place.

Table of Contents

“Deemed unjustifiable by some . . . ”
All things in their imagined counterparts
“If you break the mirror . . . ”
The new Heaven and the new Earth
“The Captain feels most dreadfully chagrined . . . ”
“The mortal wound . . .”
People in glass churches . . .
“Truer than truth itself”
“Where are you riding to, Master?”
“It is where we are wounded”

Of interest...