Introductory activities

Cultural and historical understanding

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experiences of life after 1788 can largely be divided into the eras of ‘protectionism’, ‘assimilation’ and ‘self-determination’ under Commonwealth and State Government policies. Langford-Ginibi’s autobiography outlines the effects of all of these eras.

Provide students with information on the following key ideas. This could be divided up among groups of students so that each group studies one element and reports back to build a class understanding of all elements.

Key ideas:

The author’s country and the Bundjalung people (also see the Aboriginal Languages Map). The eras of ‘protectionism (missions)’, ‘assimilation’ and ‘self-determination’ for Aboriginal people under Australian law (for resources, see information on the AUSTLIT database and the Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Info by the Muswellbrook Shire Council, and further information about Aboriginal missions can be found on the following online exhibition, ‘Remembering the Mission Days‘, at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).

Draw out from discussions some understanding of how past interactions between Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have impacted on these people, their family connections, way of life, etc. (e.g. cycles of abuse, leading to alcoholism, crime, mistrust of authority).

Looking at the title

The title is taken from a song by Kenny Rogers, ‘Don’t Take Your Love to Town’. After several failed relationships, Langford Ginibi jokes that she has taken her love to town too many times, and she is not going to waste time on unreliable men anymore. Langford Ginibi also makes reference to ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ by Johnny Cash. Rogers and Cash are American Country & Western singers – country music plays an important role in Aboriginal people’s lives. Aboriginal people were discouraged from speaking and singing in language on the missions and turned to gospel and country music. American country music was adapted and used as a means of storytelling – Aboriginal people were drawn to its focus on land, travelling around the land, life, family and the ‘lamenting’ style that allowed for expression of sorrow about their experiences of colonisation. Steven Richardson, Artistic Director, Arts House, says, ‘A kind of secret but important history of Australia is captured in the many songs of Indigenous artists’. For more detail on the role of country music in Aboriginal lives see ‘Buried Country’ – a book by Clinton Walker and television series by NITV.

Have students look at songs by Archie Roach, Kev Carmody, Roger Knox, Jimmy Little and discuss their depictions of Aboriginal life, reinforcing what they have learned about the history of colonisation. Songs and lyrics can be found online and via YouTube.

Historical context of publication

This book was first published in 1988, the year that Australia marked 200 years of European settlement and planned a year of festivities under the theme ‘Let’s Celebrate’. This was a significant point of contention for Indigenous Australians.

Have students consider the impact of the bicentennial celebrations on First Australians, and how poignant the publication of this book would have been. Resources for this activity include the My Place teacher support website and Museum Victoria’s collection on Indigenous protest, 1988.


Personal response on reading the text


As a class, read the quotes from Kenny Rogers, Bobbi Sykes (Aboriginal lawyer and activist) and Walt Whitman. Brainstorm how these may relate to themes in the book. Return to these ideas as you continue reading.

Author’s style
Langford Ginibi’s style is informal and weaves in Bundjalung and Aboriginal English (a type of Kriol or pidgin). It is very straight-forward and she reveals private and painful memories with nonchalance and candour. Sometimes the narrative jumps around a bit, resembling more of a circular story-telling than linear.

  • Have students read the introduction, ‘Names’. Discuss initial impressions of the author’s writing style.
  • Ask students to draw up a family tree based on the information provided in ‘Names’. This will help them keep track of family members as they are reading.

During reading

Discussing students’ personal connections to the text and identification with the people in the book may be difficult in the context of this novel, given much of the content deals with negative social problems and could bring up distressing memories and thoughts for anyone who has witnessed domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, poverty, etc. Students should be warned about this and encouraged to seek assistance if the study of the text brings up issues for them.

Langford Ginibi outlines at the end that the aim of her book is to provide insight into the difficulty Aboriginal people have surviving between two cultures, ‘that we are here and will always be here’. (p. 269)

Students make notes as they read about aspects of the Aboriginal experience as Langford Ginibi represents it. Have students maintain a retrieval grid (PDF, 124KB).

Teachers should include modelling and guided practice within the lessons to ensure students complete the retrieval grid effectively, and may decide to jointly construct the retrieval grid on some key sections, providing important quotes for discussion if students have missed them. After students have completed reading a chapter or section, it is recommended that they share and discuss their retrieval grids in small groups before moving on to the next section.

Immediate response: students ‘hot dot‘ (PDF, 101KB) their answers to the following question, To what extent has Langford Ginibi succeeded in giving you better insight and understanding of Aboriginal people?

(A large extent            –            To some extent            –            Not at all)

This provides quick visual feedback which you can then discuss and unpack as a class.

Outline of key elements of the text


Students to make a timeline of important events in Langford Ginibi’s life. What events seemed to have a big impact on her? What events changed the direction of her life? The class could split in groups and focus on 4-5 chapters per group. Note that dates may not always be clear, but encourage the students to piece together information by historical events Langford Ginibi describes, eg. chapter two begins with a memory of being given the day off school when the war ended, and given she was born in 1934 this would mean it was the end of the Second World War – 1945.

Ask students: In your opinion, which moments along her journey were pivotal for Langford Ginibi? Justify your view. 


Consider the mother-daughter relationships in the novel.

  • Ruby’s mother wasn’t there to help her when she was stuck in the river near the bamboos (p. 4) and after having a baby boy and appearing unhappy all the time, she left Ruby, Gwen and Rita with their father and started a new family with another man (p. 6, pp. 31-2). What might lead to a mother abandoning her three daughters? Perhaps mental illness? In an interview with Langford Ginibi, she reveals that her grandmother was raped by the Italian banana plantation owner where she worked and the product was her mother (Langford Ginibi, Ruby. Interview with Janine Little. Hecate 20.1 (1994): 100-121.) Do you think this could have had lasting effects on the relationships between mothers and daughters – Ruby and her mother, then Ruby and her own daughters? Is there a cycle of dysfunction? Ruby’s daughter Aileen leaves her children with her husband’s family, Ellen’s relationship fails (p. 204)
  • Ruby fights with her mother about Sam when she tries to warn against him: ‘you don’t have to worry about me now, you never cared before’ (p. 52)
  • ‘Nunyars jarjum, Ningana, you’re making me jung,’ is a phrase taught by Ruby’s mother to help her deal with Bill’s spirit, meaning, ‘My child, don’t do that, you’re making me bad’ (p. 160). What might this suggest about her mother’s own life experiences?

Consider Nobby’s or David’s stories: when do they make poor choices and when are they victims of circumstance (such as police racism)? Focus on Chapters 14, 16 and 18.


The Australian Curriculum defines theme as, ‘The main idea or message of a text’. A text may have a number of themes and we may divide them into major and minor themes. When discussing a theme, express it in a full sentence that shows what the message is. To state merely that the theme of the novel is ‘negative black-white relations’ does not reveal what the message is, it is simply stating the topic. To express a theme, state clearly what is being said about this topic in the text, such as ‘that negative black-white relations contribute to family dysfunction and breakdown in Aboriginal communities’. Each theme must be supported by evidence from the text.

Working in groups, discuss the topics on the retrieval grid completed during reading (divide the topics up amongst the class groups). Discuss Langford Ginibi’s attitude toward each topic and the way in which she presents it. Devise a sentence to express the topic in terms of the message being conveyed, the theme. Students should then share with the class and build a list of themes. Discuss: Which of these are developed into major themes and which are minor themes?


Synthesising task/activity

In their study of Don’t Take Your Love to Town, students have used a retrieval chart to build a bank of evidence/quotes for a number of topics in the book. They have then considered the topics in terms of themes. In addition, they have created a timeline of important events in Langford Ginibi’s life and discussed which events were pivotal for her. Students should now draw these concepts together and identify which themes are most important in the novel and which evidence – the events from Langford Ginibi’s life – illustrate these themes.

Ask students to return to their timeline of important events. Students work in pairs to complete a tournament prioritising (PDF, 101KB) sheet.

Tournament Prioritising Instructions:

  • Give each group a Tournament Prioritising sheet. The item seeded at the top of the round robin page must be seeded at No 1, the second item at No 24, the third item at No 2, the fourth at No 23, the fifth at No 3 and so on.
  • In the same groups, decide on which items will be eliminated, and advance each ‘winner’ to the next round and continue until each group can rank their items. Encourage students to make active decisions about why to keep one item and eliminate another. At some stage it would be valuable to stop your students and ask them to explain the process of elimination and justify their decisions.
  • At the end of the activity lead a discussion about why the ‘winners’ should form the basis of the class understanding.

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Close Reading

Read this passage, from when Ruby and her sisters are in the hired van returning to Bonalbo for their school reunion, and complete the tasks that follow.

We said to ourselves that the people of Bonalbo would think the Andersons and the Hinnett family had sure come up in the world.

You painted up your lips
And rolled and combed your tinted hair

(my sisters looked at me sideways, they knew the stories of my four men, what had happened in each case, and they sang)

Ruby are you contemplatin’
Going out somewhere

I saw behind their heads the Richmond Range around Mt Lindsay.

The shadow on the wall tells me
The sun is going down
Ru-by, don’t take your love to town.

I turned on a high black mama voice and patted my chest. ‘I took my love to town too many times!’ and burst out laughing.
Then we were quiet and watching out the window. The timber was so very tall and the Taloome scrub so dense we couldn’t have seen the mountain even if it wasn’t in cloud. I remembered the sound of Uncle Roy’s voice singing in the lingo about Mt Lindsay. This whole area was Bundjalung and Githebul. I heard there was a cleverwoman, Aunt Millie Boyd, who had become Keeper of the Rock. She looks after Taloome Falls, right back to Mount Warning, Nimbin rocks and that whole area
.’ (p. 242).

  • Draw an outline of the scene – the van on a highway, the Richmond Range and Mt Lindsay.
  • This scene has a cinematographic quality. Many films about a journey of self-discovery involve a reunion and/or road trip, where the characters are forced into reflecting on their lives, particularly as they travel through important landmarks and places that hold memories or meet people important to them. Examples include Radiance (Perkins, 1998), Bran Nue Dae (Perkins, 2009), Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Elliott, 1994). Students can work in groups to map out a film sequence of camera shots to capture this scene. Revise students’ understanding of types of shots and camera angles, and remind them to think about lighting effects and sound – silence, humming of the van engine, music, distant thunder. They may find it useful to organise their ideas in a film storyboard (PDF, 95KB) grid.

Now look at the language.

  • Comment on the significance of the quoted song, and Ruby’s sisters’ reactions to it.
  • What is the effect of interjecting the song lines with lines describing what Ruby is seeing as they travel?
  • List all the mentions of land features and place. How does she use place to share Bundjalung cultural knowledge?
  • How does this scene convey a sense of Ruby ‘coming full circle’ in life (completing a cycle, returning to the beginning)?
  • Direct students to think of a song that they think represents them in some way. Select some of the key lines in the song and write a passage in the style of this one analysed, interspersing the song lines with thoughts or descriptions or reflections on how the song connects to them. It could be written as a road trip scene, or a scene where they are sitting with their friends listening to the song (at a party, in someone’s bedroom), or perhaps they are alone, sitting on a train/bus listening to their iPod and thinking about the song’s relevance to them.


The writer’s craft including such elements as:


As discussed in the pre-reading, Langford Ginibi’s style is informal and weaves in Bundjalung and Aboriginal English (a type of Kriol or pidgin). It is very straight-forward and she reveals private and painful memories with nonchalance and candour.

After collecting key quotes on the retrieval grid, and charting significant events in Langford Ginibi’s life, students should be able to pinpoint more examples of the author’s candid style.

Discuss and re-read these examples, investigating the effect they have on the reader and whether that effect would be greater or lesser if the style changed. Students could play with re-writing sections to compare effect.

Langford Ginibi’s narrative sometimes jumps around a bit, resembling more of a circular story-telling style than a linear one. Teachers at Broome Secondary School asked their students the differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultural understandings of what a story is, and although Langford Ginibi’s people will be different to Broome Aborigines, there are also some similarities. Their discussion is summed up in this table:

From Bevan & Shillinglaw, 2010

Aboriginal English cultural understanding about ‘story’

  • Family
  • Law
  • Truth
  • Country
  • Painting
  • Elders
  • Animals
  • Spirituality
  • Beliefs
  • Told orally and often only in traditional language
  • Link to other stories
  • Exist (no authorship)
Standard Australian English cultural understanding
about ‘story’

  • Fiction
  • Make-believe
  • Pretend
  • For entertainment or recreation
  • Written in books, lots of books
  • Clear structure
  • Linear
  • Lots of detail, lots of words
  • Anybody can create, be an author or storyteller

Discuss how Langford Ginibi’s book is a melding of the above features. It doesn’t necessarily fit into the autobiography genre neatly – but she is clear that it is not fiction (see her 1994 interview quoted in ‘Ruby Langford Ginibi and the Practice of Auto/biography’ by Carole Ferrier).


Setting will naturally be an important aspect of a novel by an Aboriginal author because of the importance placed on a spiritual connection to land within Aboriginal culture. But what happens when Aboriginal people are displaced from their home land, either by force during the mission era or by necessity during assimilation and self-determination eras as Aboriginal people look for employment and housing within the Anglo-Australian world?

Urban Aboriginality and Remote or ‘traditional’ Aboriginality is explored throughout the book, most notably in the ‘Uluru’ chapter. Langford Ginibi reflects on the ‘untouched’ existence of the Aborigines in Central Australia and how they would not survive in the ‘half white half black world’ in which she now lives (p. 235). She also points out that Uluru represents the ‘meeting place of all dreaming tracks’ (p. 235), so that all Aboriginal communities across the continent are spiritually connected to it. Her mother accompanied her on the visit to Uluru and reflects on this spiritual connection when she concludes, upon seeing the rock, ‘Now I can die happy’ (p. 236).

But place is also about where your family and community are.

  • Cabbage Tree Island, where Langford Ginibi’s father’s people lived, was an important site of reunion one Christmas which Langford Ginibi remembers fondly (pp. 32-34). She remembers how happy everyone was, drinking and hugging and cracking jokes.
  • Bonalbo is remembered fondly as the place where Langford Ginibi lived with Aunty Nell and went to school. Langford Ginibi was able to return there briefly with her first partner, Sam, and she recalls thinking, upon arrival ‘my belongin place’ (p. 61). Langford Ginibi later returns there for a school reunion with her son Jeff. As they enter Bundjalung country she points out Cabbage Tree Island, the home of their Bunjalung tribe, and explains they are the Richmond and Clarence River tribe. She remarks, upon seeing the ‘Bundjalung National Park’ sign, that they were now on her territory, and Jeff was the only one of her children who’d ever been there.
  • Redfern is an important place for the Aboriginal community in Sydney (made up of Aboriginal people from all over the country who came to the city looking for work); this is discussed in length in the chapter ‘The Bodiless Woman’, including Saturdays at the market on Botany Road where there were ‘lots of Kooris, it was our area’ (p. 47). When her family are given a government house in Green Valley as part of a scheme to bring more Aboriginal families into ‘white’ suburbs, they find it very difficult and would prefer to be in Redfern. This is discussed in the chapter, ‘Why we didn’t assimilate’.

Displacement is a feature of Aboriginal lives – whether due to protectionist mission policy, assimilationist government housing policy or as a feature of self-determination, such as Aboriginal people moving to Sydney for work and building a community in Redfern. For women in the early part of the twentieth century, displacement also occurred when partners moved them, either to be with the man’s family or to find work. Langford Ginibi is moved around endlessly because of each of her partners’ wishes, often unsettling her family when she was just getting them into a routine and getting ahead in life: ‘another example of me being moved about by other people’s needs and I would not have minded being settled’ (p. 105).

  • Discuss the above ideas with students and have them identify important places in their own lives. Which places do they hold fond memories of? Is it often the places where they grew up and attended school? If they were ever forced to move, because of their father’s job, for example, how did they feel about it?
  • Investigate Redfern as an important Aboriginal community in Sydney. The television series ‘Redfern Now’ could be incorporated here. Can students understand why Langford Ginibi wanted to be here, why places such as the Empress were important (a minority group banding together). They could make comparisons to other Sydney communities such as Vietnamese in Cabramatta, or Lebanese in Lakemba. What are the pros and cons of having such ‘enclaves’ form within a city?
  • Compare the novel to a poem dealing with connection to land (seen in a lot of Aboriginal poetry) – AUSTLIT’s database Black Words is a good place to locate texts by Indigenous writers. One of note which connects well to Langford Ginibi’s novel is ‘Calling me home’ by Lyndon Lane.

Point of view

The Australian Curriculum glossary definition of ‘point of view’ is: ‘The viewpoint of an author, audience or characters in a text. Narrative point of view refers to the ways a narrator may be related to the story. The narrator, for example, might take the role of first or third person, omniscient or restricted in knowledge of events, reliable or unreliable in interpretation of what happens.’

As this is an autobiography, it is written in first person, from Langford Ginibi’s point of view as an Aboriginal woman. For example, in the chapter ‘Why we didn’t assimilate’, she scoffs at the rules about the government house in Green Valley, saying that it was futile to tell Aboriginal people that they weren’t allowed to have guests overnight or longer: ‘The rule was useless in our culture, where survival often depended on being able to stay with friends and relatives’ (p. 174). When Langford Ginibi’s son is being bullied by local kids in Green Valley on the way to school, she gives him some unconventional advice: ”Look, Jeff, you can’t be running away all the time from them, so what you do is, hit the one with the biggest mouth, and you’ll find the others will shoot through’ . . . He came in with his knuckles bleeding and his shirt collar ripped, but he had a grin from ear to ear. ‘I did what you told me mum, and it’s true. They all ran away when I hit the big-mouthed one.’ They didn’t bother him again – it’s a terrible thing that you had to encourage your son to resort to violence, so he could go to school peacefully each day.’ (p. 175). The neighbours and school teachers at Green Valley would likely have had different opinions on these two statements made by Langford Ginibi.

Students can select a section of the novel or event and consider how it may be seen or told from another point of view, whether from an Anglo Australian viewpoint or simply from the point of view of another person in Langford Ginibi’s family, or one of her partners.


Writing an autobiography as an Aboriginal woman in 1988 meant being part of a ground-breaking movement which pioneered a way (alongside other authors such as Sally Morgan, Glenyse Ward and Doris Pilkington) for the Aboriginal voice to be heard in mainstream Australian culture.

Consider the following extract in terms of the way in which it uniquely expresses an Aboriginal woman’s voice.

But it got that way after a while that I was dying to see another black face like mine, someone to pass the time of day and yarn with, and if some relatives showed up for an occasional visit, when you went out to welcome them you could see your neighbours’ curtains move and many eyes upon you. After a while I felt guilty about having visitors. I wondered who’d be dobbing me in to the Commission if the visitors stayed overnight. My family and I were to live in Sadlier Green Valley for about eight years. The government policy of assimilation by absorption meant splitting up the Aboriginal communities, and I understand what this policy meant as I had four daughters and only one married an Aboriginal. My grandchildren are blond and blue or hazel-eyed, and within two or three hundred years there won’t be Aboriginals in suburbia. So far as the government is concerned, assimilation by absorption is working well, and in the end there’ll be no Aboriginal problem whatever. I have thought that one way we can keep Aboriginal culture alive is through the kids – having Aboriginal studies taught compulsorily in schools.’ (pp. 176-177).

Language questions 

  • What is the effect of the repetition of the phrase assimilation by absorption?
  • Notice the time marker after a while repeated in the first paragraph. What is the effect of using this phrase? (showing her being worn down by the circumstances, in the same way she feels the government is trying to slowly wipe out Aboriginal people)
  • How does the language show her feelings of alienation?
  • Evaluation: What makes this a powerful piece of writing?


Synthesising task/activity

Compare the above excerpt, written in the 1980s, to the following articles about Anita Heiss’ memoir of an Aboriginal woman, Am I Black Enough For You?, published in 2012. Have Aboriginal concerns and suggested solutions changed in the intervening 20-30 years? To what extent? Are there enduring concerns? Are there new/different concerns? Which piece of writing do you respond most favourably to and why? What style of writing or language features do you think would be most effective in allowing Aboriginal women to express their opinions and educate others about their cultures and histories?

Articles about Anita Heiss:
On writing the memoir
Book blurb
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Ways of reading the text

The Aboriginal experience

A great book for comparison is Purple Threads by Jeanine Leane (UQP, 2011), a rollicking, loosely autobiographical novel about growing up Aboriginal in Gundagai. It is a timeless novel – not set in particular times although there are references to the protagonist’s elderly aunt having worked for a family during the Great Depression, so a guess is that it depicts the protagonist’s childhood in around the 1950s-1960s.

A quick read of even just the first five chapters up to ‘Coming Home’ (93 pages) would provide enough to make comparisons with Don’t Take Your Love to Town. The novel is very much a hybridised version of the Aboriginal English/Standard Australian English understanding of what constitutes a story, as discussed by Bevan and Shillinglaw and outlined in the ‘Pre-reading’ section of this lesson module. Comparisons can be made about:

  • The strength of women in holding families together – Langford Ginibi and her Aunty Nell in Don’t Take Your Love to Town; Nan, Aunty Bubby and Aunty Boo inPurple Threads.
  • Aunty Boo’s opinion about the ‘uselessness’ of men – that they just cause trouble – an opinion Langford Ginibi comes to share to an extent later in life.
  • The dysfunction in families; the protagonist, Sunny, and her sister, Star, are brought up by Aunties and Nan because their mother, Petal, never stays in one spot for long. Similar stories in Don’t Take Your Love to Town – Ruby’s mother left them, Ruby’s daughter leaves her children.
  • The dangers for Aboriginal people going to the city: lived by Nobby and David inDon’t Take Your Love to Town, and echoed in the aunties’ discussion in Purple Threads: ‘More often than not the phone calls would be about a cousin in an accident, a cousin in trouble, a cousin with a broken heart. Sometimes there was even talk of drugs, beatings, courts, jails and death. ‘Them bloody cities!’ would be the unanimous response from Nan and the Aunties. ‘Like traps fer blackfellas, pickin’ up bad habits left, right and centre,’ Aunty Boo was adamant. ‘Too much mob an not enough ta do in them big places. S’pose it might be like that fer whitefellas too, hey?’ (pp. 18-19).

Students may also look at a range of poetry: some great contemporary poets include Charmaine Papertalk-Green, Ali Cobby Eckermann, and Samuel Wagan Watson. Again, AustLit’s website Black Words is a good place to locate texts by Indigenous writers.

Direct students to compare the chosen poetry with Don’t Take Your Love to Town.

  • What similarities and differences can you find in the themes developed in each text and how these ideas are represented?
  • How important is context in shaping these aspects of the texts?


Comparison with other, alternative, texts

Students could compare theses texts about Aboriginal experience of dispossession, generational trauma, poverty, and racism to an Asian Australian text dealing with similar issues, such as Anh Do’s The Happiest Refugee. Escaping the atrocities of the Vietnam War and its aftermath, the Do family moved to Australia for a better life.

Australia’s migration policy, and the poverty, family dysfunction and racism that Do’s family faced after settling in Australia connect easily to the experiences of Aboriginal people. Do’s humour and the resilience of his family in making the best of situations and having fun and laughing together can also be easily compared to Langford Ginibi and Leane’s approach to storytelling.

Do’s anecdotal style means that the text could possibly be divided up into key sections and students could work in groups to make comparisons to Langford Ginibi and/or Leane and then present their findings to the class.


Evaluation of the text

Return to the immediate response activity where students hot-dotted their opinions to the question: To what extent has Langford Ginibi succeeded in giving you better insight and understanding of Aboriginal people? 

Has anyone changed their opinion after studying the novel in more depth and comparing it to other novels?

Spend time assisting students to articulate their responses to the above question with examples and evidence from the text.


Identifying and justifying language/stylistic techniques for specific narrative or dramatic purposes

Have students consider and justify elements of the author’s style or representational choices through mini-debates in class. Some possible ‘contentious’ topics include:

  • Langford Ginibi’s blunt exposure of the poverty, abuse, alcoholism, crime and despair she has witnessed just reinforces stereotypes that Aboriginal people are drunken, welfare-dependent, no-hopers.
  • Langford Ginibi’s frank discussion of the abuse she and her friends have suffered at the hands of men is an important step in encouraging Australians to face the issue of domestic violence.
  • Langford Ginibi’s representation of women is insulting and suggests they have no power over their own lives.


Rich assessment task

Students then write an editorial with a cartoon responding to any of the above questions under the ‘evaluating’ and ‘identifying and justifying’ sections – arguing about the value of the novel in giving non-Aboriginal people insight and understanding of Aboriginal people, and perhaps suggesting more effective texts if they are arguing that it has limited value.

Provide students with examples of editorials and cartoons (Jack Waterford for The Canberra Times often champions Indigenous issues in his editorials). Deconstruct the language and features of an editorial and the satire used in the accompanying cartoons. Review students’ understanding of persuasive techniques.
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Synthesise core ideas

Concept map and essay

Return to the earlier themes’ work, tournament prioritiser and retrieval grid containing important quotes from the novel.

Ask students to write down three themes they would like to explore in their essay, and dot points of evidence from Langford Ginibi’s novel that they would use in discussing these themes.

Around these points add notes showing how these ideas are reflected in any other texts that have been studied.

Then add another layer of notes identifying the main features of the writing style and techniques used to provide the reader with insight into the experiences of their people. Ensure that for each technique, there is an example and a brief note about the effect of the technique.

Students could use an A3 sheet for their concept maps. Alternatively, they could use mind-mapping software, such as Prezi or MindMaple.


Rich assessment task

Students use personal concept maps to help write an extended response to an essay question:

Patricia Grimshaw (Ruby Langford Ginibi: Bundjalung Historian, Writer and Educator, University of Melbourne: Parkville, VIC p.2012) states that in Don’t Take Your Love to Town, Langford Ginibi ‘offered unflinching insight into the difficulties of her own life and the life experiences of other Indigenous people.’ To what extent is this an accurate description of the novel’s achievements? Discuss with reference to at least one major theme explored throughout the novel.

Students should plan and draft their responses, receiving feedback from their teacher or other students before proceeding to writing final copies. During the drafting process, examine model annotated responses, written by the teacher or students, and use feedback to make further improvements to their own essays.
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