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The Yield

With special guest:

  • Tara June Winch
    … in conversation with Bill Kable

The Yield is a big book that in Paul Kelly’s words “sings up language, history, home, blood - all the important stuff” with its focus being on an area of some 500 acres in western New South Wales.

This is a new novel by Indigenous author Tara June Winch that she has been working on for the last fourteen years. It tells of the experiences of the fictional Goondiwindi family based on the real history of Aboriginal people in Australia. The novel is set in Massacre Plains and one of the places is called Poisoned Waterhole Creek. These are real place names. The town in the story is somewhat ironically called Prosperous.

Reflected in these pages are the lives of all those people touched by violence, segregation, abuse and the dehumanising policies and practices of colonisation. We hear about coal seam gas, tin mining and the conflict with sacred sites.

Even within the Goondiwindi family there are goodies and baddies that we can identify. Outside of the family we get a perspective from a missionary sent to the area and we get to decide which side he is on.

Against all this there is the uplifting story of the patriarch of the family whose character is based on a member of Tara’s family. “Poppy” in the story embarked on a project to preserve the Wiradjuri language and indeed Tara has included a dictionary in the book. For the Aboriginal language set out in the book Tara is indebted to Uncle Doctor Stan Grant senior a Wiradjuri man who has done so much to preserve one of the more than 250 separate languages that were spoken 200 years ago.

Tara who is now based in France is able to bring a fresh perspective on the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures of the modern society with her talent for storytelling. Listening to Tara it is easy to visualise the gum trees and to feel you are in the less developed parts of Australia, away from the coastline.

And there is a lot to celebrate in this story as we can reflect on the progress in many areas. This is a great way to start the conversation in NAIDOC week.

Tara June Winch

Tara June Winch is a Wiradjuri author, born in Australia in 1983 and based in France.

Her first novel Swallow the Air was critically acclaimed. She was named the Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist and has won numerous literary awards for Swallow the Air. A 10th Anniversary edition was published in 2016.

Tara wrote the Indigenous dance documentary Carriberrie which screened at the 71st Cannes Film Festival and is touring internationally.

Song selection by our guest: Mulyawongk by Archie Roach

Listen Now (mp3)

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