Unfinished Business at Gundabooka

Paul Collis, Wayne Knight, Paul Magee, Jen Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


It all comes in 'conversation'. There is a 'sync' that happens differently for each person, place and circumstance. Allowing for that synchronicity to happen is often the difference between white fellas and Aboriginal researchers. Often, we Aboriginal fellas say, "You can't push it..." All that stuff around people 'not knowing much', feeling ashamed, having the right to speak depends on the circumstance, place or person, at any one point in time. It’s as much about trusting the space, the circumstances and the people in it.

It is a problem when research grants are 'set to a time frame,' allowing some allocated time to get the question answered. It’s different when working with Aboriginal people—especially when you are 'on Country' doing that research. With the r esearch that I have been doing with people in Bourke and in Brewarrina, not everything comes at once. The people/person that I am 'working with' at any time 'might not be ready'. . . That's the way it is. Family, Sorry Stuff, Unfinished Business, History, and Country all play a role in when 'to speak, to listen, to be'.

I have been out West four times now. I find the 'right time', but sometimes the right time is not right for the person I've come to speak with. . . I find another person where it is the right time to speak, and work with that person. So, the research takes time. rolls into other voices and into a richer and, sometimes, a different research to the thing originally sought.

Here I’m speaking with my cousin, Wayne.

We’re with poets, Paul Magee and Jen Crawford, working on A Book that Opens. That’s the research. We’re making a speaking book. Or a book that speaks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-118
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023


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