Bobby Wabalanginy’s challenge to Xenophobic Australia


From Lin Onus’s “Hills Hoist” – NSW Art Gallery.

Kim Scott’s Bobby Wabalanginy is a character who dares to confront the hardened utilitarianism of the European invaders with dance, humour and song. The closing scenes of the novel in which Bobby does a hambone (striptease) -bar his bright red underpants- in front of a kangaroo court are a dramatic triumph for this novel (That Deadman Dance). The result is a wonderful flouting of all the snotty-nosed, rigid values of the British imperialists keen to take the last skerrick of food from the indigenous people. Bobby’s grand finale is a triumph, despite the gunshot that is heard somewhere outside.

In tutorials we  had a fabulous time exploring the core differences between the way indigenous Australians and European think about or experience the spirit world. Kim Scott has done a fabulous job in using language that in its texture  (word choice and word sounds) indicates the kinds of experience that his characters have.

Find today’s lecture here- which is preceded by Elaine’s presentation on plagiarism (See Slides below):

Slides for today’s lecture:

New Dead Man Dance

Tutorial No 3 Audio

Tutorial White Boards: IMG_4319IMG_4321

Slides for Elaine’s tutorial:

week 4 overview=

Here are some additional blog topics for week 4: 

As a blog topic for next week, 

1/( Creative/ Critical )Try to describe a landscape using language that shows that you love every aspect of it, drawing on all your senses. In contrast try now to describe the same landscape using language that shows you hate every inch of what you experience. Think about the texture of the words you use in each situation. 

Get a taste through this of how language moulds itself around your experience.

If this blog topic does not excite, here are a few more to chose from 

2/ (Creative) Write a letter to Bobby Wabalanginy explaining to him how valuable you think he has been for people living in the colony.

3/ (Critical) Create a digital kit of web resources that can help a reader find out more about how and why Kim Scott wrote Dead Man Dance.  A digital kit is a well constructed list of useful links to good material on the web.

Create a creative or critical topic of your own sparked off by work we have done this week.


Lin Onus’s “Hills Hoist” – NSW Art Gallery.

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