Speaking of Violence on Women's Country

Paul Collis, Jen Crawford

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review

4 Downloads (Pure)


We wrote the poem ‘Woman’s Country’ during and after a recent research visit to Bourke, in a rare period of flood. Much of the previous 25 years (particularly 1997–2009 and 2017–2019 (Bureau of Meteorology, 2022)) had been marked by dire and ongoing drought, exacerbated by industrial water theft and overuse, alongside climate change. Among the consequences are great strain and grief for Aboriginal communities as they see their rivers, here the Barka (the Darling), emptying, threatening the continuity of life, culture and Dreaming. When asked ‘What is a river?’ in our research discussions, traditional owner Wayne Knight answered, ‘That river is our spiritual lifeblood’ (Knight 2022). We heard that when the river was empty, Barkindji children, drawing on their own knowledge of Country, asked ‘Where does the Rainbow Serpent sleep now?’
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDifficult Conversations
EditorsUrsula K Frederick, Ashley Harrison, Tracy Ireland, Justin Magee
PublisherBritish Council
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781915280190
ISBN (Print)9780915280183
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Speaking of Violence on Women's Country'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this