‘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.
- Winner 2003 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction
- Winner 2004 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Biennial Prize for Literary Scholarship
- Winner 2004 National Biography Award
- Winner 2004 Tasmania Pacific Bicentenary History Award