#1 Martin Thomas reads '"Because It's Your Country": Bringing Back the Bones to West Arnhem Land'

12.18.2015 - By The ABR Podcast

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“The morgue in Gunbalanya holds no more than half a dozen corpses – and, as usual, it was full. When the Old Man died in the wet season of 2012, they had to fly him to Darwin, only to discover that the morgue there was already overcrowded. So they moved him again, this time to Katherine, where they put him on ice until the funeral. The hot climate notwithstanding, things can move at glacial speed in the Northern Territory, where the wags tell you that NT stands for ‘Not today, not tomorrow’. The big departure had stalked and yet eluded the Old Man in recent years. Now he would wait six months for his burial. Only then would he be properly ‘finished up’, as they say in Gunbalanya, a place rich in many things: poverty, and euphemisms for death, among them…”

Martin Thomas reads his powerful 2013 Calibre Prize winning essay ‘“Because it’s your country”: Bringing Back the Bones to West Arnhem Land' about the repatriation of indigenous remains for the first episode of the ABR Podcast. Thomas’s essay was published in the April 2013 issue of Australian Book Review and can be read here: http://bit.ly/1NATLc8

Show notes are available here: bit.ly/1Ij6C64

Author’s Dedication
This reading is dedicated to the memory of Adis Hondo, cinema-photographer on the documentary film described in the essay. Born in the Bosnian city of Mostar in 1956, he found asylum in Australia during the Balkan crisis of the 1990s. In Melbourne he met his partner Suze Houghton who was with him when he died of cancer at Castlemaine, Victoria in December 2015. Adis Hondo, may you rest in peace.

Martin Thomas’s reading was recorded and edited at the Australian National University where Dr Thomas is Associate Professor of History.

The theme music for this podcast is by David McCooey. David's website is www.davidmccooey.com and his debut album Outside Broadcast is now available as a digital download. You can listen to more of his work on SoundCloud.

To find out more about Australian Book Review visit our website https://www.australianbookreview.com.au/

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