IN October 1934, Bill McKinnon, the sole policeman in the southern Northern Territory, tracked an Aboriginal man towards Uluru over a period of five days, across very rough country.
There had been no rain for some time and water was extremely scarce. Eventually McKinnon found the man, Yokununna, hiding in a cave under the eaves of the rock. Armed with a pistol McKinnon crawled in after him. Within moments Yokununna was fatally injured.
Unusually, given the attitudes of the day, serious questions were asked about what happened that morning in the cave, resulting in a Commonwealth investigation.
Mark McKenna, the renowned historian, went to the centre of the continent to continue his exploration of early contact between Indigenous peoples and the white settlers. Almost by accident he stumbled upon this tale which, he came to see, was emblematic of our shared history.
The book he wrote about it, ‘Return to Uluru’ is a fascinating study, part detective novel, part history, a cold case brought to life. At the centre of the story is Uluru, the Rock, the sacred place where paths fatefully converged.
McKenna is the author of several books, including a biography of Manning Clark that won just about every award a biography can in Australia. He’s coming to Maleny to speak to Steven Lang for Outspoken about ‘Return to Uluru’.
Steven will also introduce author Luke Stegemann, who is no less interesting. His new book, ‘Amnesia Road’, is an extraordinary evocation of early settlement of south-western Queensland, discussed alongside the troubles in Andalusia in southern Spain during the civil war. It is a curious combination that makes for remarkable reading.
On weekends Luke travels extensively around Queensland in his role as a referee on the state amateur boxing circuit.
When: Thursday, July 8
Time: 6pm for 6.30pm
Where: Maleny Community Centre
Cost: Adults $22, students $15