Born in the Desert
Author: Marion Hercock
First published: 2009
Format: Paperback 89 pages
The Lands and travels of a last Australian Nomad
This uniquely West Australian story combines the memories of a last aboriginal nomad with a history and geography of the Little Sandy Desert. Personal stories merge with images of desert landscapes in a colourful, descriptive and candid account of outback life.
Dadina Georgina Brown was born in that desert, but outside the bounds of her Mandilara aboriginal tribe.
Like her famous kinsman Warri, and his wife Yatungka, Ms Brown is one of the last people to have lived the traditional nomad life. Her stories about her early childhood as Dadina, living wild and free; and then adjusting to life as Georgina, resident in the outback community at Wiluna, feature in this new release.
The transition from the nomadic life began in 1976 when seven-year-old Dadina and her family, met a party of men from the Geraldton Historical Society, who were retracing the 1896 route of David Carnegie. Expedition leader Stan Gratte, and camp cook Harry Leaver, lend their words and photographs to the account of their meeting with the nomads, who opted to leave the desert and start a new life in Wiluna. Geographer Dr Marion Hercock has added information about the wildlife, landscapes and history of the Little Sandy Desert to Dadina Georgina’s stories.
The book has adventure, crime, tragedy and sorrow, a little mystery, and even food. The preparation of bush tucker is shown in detail with Dadina Georgina’s lively demonstration of how to catch, kill, gut and cook a goanna. This book is refreshingly honest and, while not glossing over the horrible aspects of life on the fringe, does not dwell on issues. It is backed up by scholarly research with extensive footnotes and illustrated with photographs and maps.