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About the book
  • Published: 1 November 2012
  • ISBN: 9781742749402
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 848

Broken Song




The biography of T. G. H. Strehlow and Aboriginal possession.

The biography of T. G. H. Strehlow and Aboriginal possession.

‘A group of men… chanting with the enthusiasm that made them forget age & weakness & becoming young again in spirit…the rising and falling of the chant melody, like the breathing that gives us life – what an unforgettable scene!’

Thus wrote T. G.H. Strehlow in 1935, as he began his life work, Songs of Central Australia, acclaimed as one of the great books of world literature. Prize-winning poet and historian, Barry Hill, with exclusive access to Strehlow’s diaries, has written a major work about the troubled man who grew up on the Hermannsburg mission, became the first Patrol Officer of Central Australia, called himself the ‘last of the Aranda’, and compulsively collected secret-sacred objects and images.

Broken Song straddles a century of Australian history, from the race wars on the frontier to the modern era of aboriginal land rights, tracking Strehlow’s creative and tragic life in translation.

  • Pub date: 1 November 2012
  • ISBN: 9781742749402
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 848

About the Author

Barry Hill

Barry Hill is an acclaimed historian, writer and poet. His books include The Best Picture, Raft, Sitting In (an award-winning account of the longest industrial action in Australian history) and The Road To Uluru. Broken Song won many awards on its release.


Praise for Broken Song

“Monumental, extreme, magnificently obsessed – it is the chief measure of poet Barry Hill’s achievement that readers in years to come may well describe his new biography with the same words used today for the work of Theodor Strehlow, its brooding, haunted, subject.”

Nicolas Rothwell, The Weekend Australian

“A massive and absorbing contribution to Australian history and letters.”

Philip Jones, The Age

“Elegant, engaging and sometimes arresting… The research is unflagging and the judgments unsparing.”

Gideon Haigh, The Bulletin

“Gripping, often surprising, occasionally obscure but altogether inspiring… Broken Song is [Hill’s] Australian masterpiece… This book is both a classic that should live long, and a challenge to black and white Australians now.”

Hugh Stretton, The Adelaide Review

“This brilliant book brings into focus the importance of language in the relationship of black and white in Australia.”

Alan Atkinson, The Sydney Morning Herald


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