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Maralinga : the An̲angu story by Yalata…

Maralinga : the An̲angu story (2009)

by Yalata Aboriginal Community.

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British nuclear tests occurred at Maralinga in South Australia between 1955 and 1963. Seven nuclear tests were performed, with approximate yields ranging from 1 to 27 kilotons of TNT equivalent, as well as many 'minor' tests. The site was contaminated with radioactive materials and an initial cleanup was attempted in 1967. The An̲angu people whose traditional land it is are rarely mentioned except in passing in conversations about the tests, though they did receive compensation from the Australian government in 1994.

This book tells their story. It begins well before their country was deemed to be a good place to test nuclear devices (putting the lie to a rerun of terra nullius, you might say) and brings us up to the slow rebuilding of communities in the present. It begins: 'Long time ago, before whitefellas came, Anangu lived on their lands for thousands and thousands of years.'

Many non-Indigenous people are likely to think of this book as worthy, an excellent addition to a school library, but not exactly something to rush out and buy. But you know, it's also a book that changes the way you see the world, and leaves you in awe of human beings, both the resilient ones who have come through a hundred years of brutal disregard, and the one who has sat down and listened deeply enough to bring their stories to us. ( )
  shawjonathan | Apr 22, 2012 |
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In words and pictures Yalata and Oak Valley community members, with author Christobel Mattingley, describe what happened in the Maralinga Tjarutja lands of South Australia before the bombs and after.

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