Kathy Marks, Channelling Mannalargenna (Review)

Nothing is as simple as it may first seem or as simple as historians may like us to believe.

Whispering Gums

A few weeks ago I wrote a Monday Musings about the Walkley Awards, noting some of the winners that particularly interested me. They included two awards for essays in the Griffith Review, one by Melissa Lucashenko, whose essay “Sinking below sight” I subsequently reviewed, and the other by Kathy Marks whose essay, “Channelling Mannalargenna” is the subject of this post. Both essays deal with indigenous topics but while Lucashenko, who won the award for Long Feature, has Aboriginal heritage, Marks, whose award was for Indigenous Affairs, is English. This adds an intriguing layer to her piece which is about the troubled issue of identity in indigenous Tasmania. Marks has, however, been writing about the Asia-Pacific region since 1999.

Like most Australians of my generation, I grew up believing that genocide had resulted in the elimination of indigenous people from Tasmania. Truganini, we were told, was…

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