David Marr offers fascinating insight into the cruel past

By Sonia Isaacs

ACCLAIMED journalist and author, David Marr spoke with both candour and conviviality to a sold-out crowd at last week’s Outspoken event at the Maleny Community Centre. In conversation with Steven Lang, David (both pictured)discussed his latest book ‘Killing for Country’ which delved into the bloody, dark and brutally shameful history of Australia’s colonial frontier wars, and explores the callously cruel role of the Native Police; which when researching his own family history David was appalled to discover a familial connection to.

The evening commenced with an introduction to award winning writer Mirandi Riwoe, speaking about her new book, ‘Sunbirds’. An engaging author who enjoys success through her historical crime work written under a ‘nom de plume’, Mirandi presented a fascinating and delightful book reading.

David Marr proved to be a droll and engaging interviewee who was well versed in intelligent and amusing asides that drew in the audience despite the often harrowing revelations of the subject matter and discovery that his great-great-grandfather was in essence a ‘professional killer’.

While his family history provoked a curiosity and journalistic hook that served as a spine for the story, the book represents years of collaboration and archival research based on public records, letters and memoirs to present a ‘clear path through an ugly forest’ of under-reported history.

David spoke of how that curiosity led him to investigate the history of early Australian politics and question how the native police with their violent suppression of Aboriginal resistance to European settlement was able to be sanctioned for nearly 60 years.

The evening concluded with a robust Q&A with some insightful and thought-provoking questioning from audience members, some of whom shared their own deeply personal and poignant connections.

Outspoken’s next event will include Professor Tony Birch speaking about his new novel ‘Women and Children’ on Wednesday November 15.