Tag Archives: Uluru

Azaria: a true history – Maree Coote



Walker Books Australia

March 2020

ISBN: 9780648568407
Imprint: Melbournestyle Books
Australian RRP: $29.99
New Zealand RRP: $32.99

I’ll be frank. When I first received this book I thought initially that it was odd subject matter for a picture book – in spite of my immense admiration for the fortitude and forgiving nature of Lindy Chamberlain (and if you missed the Anh Do Brush with Fame episode – you would be sorry I’m sure). But as I read it I realised that it is exactly right for a picture book for younger readers because we all need to engender in our kids an awareness of justice and injustice and that tragedies can occur, even more so when the media becomes both judge and jury.

The story of arguably the most horrible miscarriage of justice in Australian legal history is one that deserves to be told and while Coote’s narrative of the events does not shy away from facts it is not presented in a way that would cause deep trauma in readers but instead will create a wave of compassion for someone so cruelly wronged.

For many of us the events are burned forever in our memory. I clearly remember that when the news first broke, I rushed in to check my Jen, who was herself a tiny baby at that time. The surreal sequence of unfolding events was both shocking and unbelievable. Rarely in my memory has any individual been so thoroughly villified under the public scrutiny while the media indulged in a feeding frenzy like the piranhas they are.

In the typical fashion of the lowest common denominator just the very fact that Lindy and her family were Seventh Day Adventists marked them as ‘different’ and as our current circumstances will confirm this is still a deplorable failing among many Australians who reputedly are so tolerant and welcoming. Don’t get me wrong, of course many of us are but there is still a sector of society that seem to delight in their vile intolerance of any who don’t fit their perception of ‘true-blue’ Aussies.

Perhaps the most stunning aspect of this book are the absolutely fabulous illustrations which not only encapsulate the events but convey the mystic majesty of Uluru and Anangu country – a place that was such a joy to both The Kid and I when we visited a year or so ago.

Needless to say I feel this book is a ‘must have’ for your collection and in fact, not only suited to younger readers but I can see it as a terrific provocation for Legal Studies in the secondary school.

Highly recommended for both children from around 8 years upwards and adults.

Go well, Lindy.


The Great Outback Adventure


My Jen was a proud Wiradjuri woman and always encouraged her daughter, Not-So-Small, to grow in her culture. One of her greatest dreams was to take Not-So-Small to the Outback particularly Kakadu and Uluru. When she died in 2015 many kind people put much-appreciated donations towards a fund for me to be able to fulfil that dream. At the time it wasn’t enough but over the years, by dint of adding when I could I managed to acquire more dollars. A few months ago when a certain airline announced direct flights from Brisbane to Ayers Rock at a very reasonable price I knew it was doable – so booked our flights and some accommodation for the first few nights. Last Monday we took off on our adventure. We arrived at Ayers Rock Airport and headed straight out to Uluru for our first close-up look, taking Mummy in our hearts and minds.  After a look around the wonderful Cultural Centre – the highlight of which was watching some beautiful aunties painting we drove out to Kings Canyon where we spent the first three nights.

A walk along the canyon floor admiring the beauty of the amazing feature and another a day later exploring to Kathleen Springs were our main goals. We spotted wild camels, zebra finches, a bearded dragon, a wedge-tailed eagle and hawks all the while marvelling over the seemingly barren endless expanse of the Central Desert.

On Thursday we got up early and headed back to Uluru (spotting two dingos, including one black one! along the way) for a luxurious night at Sails in the Desert – how wonderful to have a free  upgrade to a terrace room! – with it’s sumptous grounds, pool and marvellous staff.  Back to the sacred rock for some more photos, a swim for Not-So-Small in the amazing pool (all to herself at the time!), a Bush Tucker talk and some lunch, then a little rest before a brilliant sunset scenic flight over the spectacular Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Uluru itself in a tiny Cessna – just the two of us and the pilot. What a truly wonderful experience that was – definitely the highlight – and our pilot so knowledgeable as well. Not-So-Small loved being up front next to him!

After an easy dinner with room service we headed off to the Field of Light art installation – another fantastic experience.

One day we might get to Kakadu as well – though Not-So-Small has requested Tasmania for our next adventure – next year! In the meantime, I know Jen would have been watching over her girl as she discovered more about her First Australian heritage and smiling.

Thank you to everyone who helped the dream come true xxx