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Singing Saltwater Country: Journey to the Songlines of Carpentaria

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  20 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
John Bradley's compelling account of three decades living with the Yanyuwa people of the Gulf of Carpentaria and of how the elders revealed to him the ancient songlines of their Dreaming
 
At the age of 20 John Bradley was posted to Borroloola Primary School in the fragile wetlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria in far north Australia. There began a journey over three deca
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Allen Unwin (first published January 1st 2010)
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Roger
Aug 27, 2012 Roger rated it it was amazing
In 1980, John Bradley went to town of Borroloola in the Gulf country as a teacher. I imagine he had little inkling of what that decision would mean for the rest of his life, and that this book would come thirty years later. We find little in the book of John Bradley's life before he arrived, and of why he decided to go there in the first place, and it is to the benefit of the book as a whole that we don't.

What we do gain, through Bradley's experiences, are insights into the songlines, or kujika
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Michael Lever
Jul 22, 2016 Michael Lever rated it it was amazing
This is a groundbreaking work. An excptional piece of ethnographic , anthropological and simply humane writing that is unparalleled in Australian literature. It is an utter privilege to see the Yanyuwa world through Bradley's eyes. The standard of the work is probably best attested by the authors extraordinary induction into the Yanyuwa tribe, and adoption into a Yanyuwa family. Now, Bradley is a Yanyuwa elder, and one of the few remaining speakers of Yanyuwa language.The resulting insights are ...more
Lynne Kelly
I loved this book. I was intrigued by the concept of Australian Aboriginal songlines and had read a fair bit about them. But nothing before this book gave me a real understanding of how they functioned within Aboriginal society, in this case Yanyuwa culture. I didn't understand exactly how the song part of the songline was actually formed.

Bradley lived with the Yanyuwa for decades and was taught by the elders. He conveys this understanding extremely well, while also presenting a highly readable
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Periwinkle
Jul 14, 2012 Periwinkle rated it liked it
I recently spent some time working in a remote community located on an island in the Gulf of Carpentaria. I heard a little bit about songlines, but I didn't really understand the concept until I read this book. An interesting and worthwhile read! I always recommend this book to people who are interested in Indigenous culture.
Nikki Balzer
Apr 14, 2016 Nikki Balzer rated it liked it
as much as i wanted to love this book i got bogged down instead. I found it disjointed and hard to follow. or maybe my mindframe was too unsettled to concentrate.
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