Mark McKennaAug 25, 2021
Return to Uluru
A Killing, Hidden history, a Story that Toes to the Heart of the Nation
Black Incorporated 2021
Today I talked to Mark McKenna about his new book Return to Uluru: A Killing, Hidden history, a Story that Toes to the Heart of the Nation (Black Inc, 2021).
When McKenna set out to write a history of the centre of Australia, he had no idea what he would discover. One event in 1934 - the shooting at Uluru of Aboriginal man Yokunnuna by white policeman Bill McKinnon, and subsequent Commonwealth inquiry - stood out as a mirror of racial politics in the Northern Territory at the time. But then, through speaking with the families of both killer and victim, McKenna unearthed new evidence that transformed the historical record and the meaning of the event for today. As he explains, 'Every thread of the story connected to the present in surprising ways.' In a sequence of powerful revelations, McKenna explores what truth-telling and reconciliation look like in practice. Return to Uluru brings a cold case to life. It speaks directly to the Black Lives Matter movement, but is completely Australian. Recalling Chloe Hooper's The Tall Man, it is superbly written, moving, and full of astonishing, unexpected twists. Ultimately it is a story of recognition and return, which goes to the very heart of the country. At the centre of it all is Uluru, the sacred site where paths fatefully converged. 'I feel sure that it will become an Australian classic, not the first of its kind, but certainly the most powerful narrative I have read of frontier injustice and its resonance in our lives today.'-Marcia Langton
Professor Mark McKenna, Department of History, University of Sydney, specialising in Australian political and cultural history and Aboriginal history.
Bede Haines is a solicitor, specialising in litigation and a partner at Holding Redlich, an Australian commercial law firm. He lives in Sydney, Australia. Known to read books, ride bikes and eat cereal (often). firstname.lastname@example.org