Every hill got a story


Men and Women of Central Australia and the Central Land Council

Nyinanyi ngurangka - being on country - is not a 'lifestyle choice' but a hard-won right, a spiritual and cultural duty, a constant battle, a source of happiness and opportunity and the meaning of life all at the same time.

Every hill got a story is the first comprehensive history of Central Australia's Aboriginal people, as told in their own words and many languages.

In this heartbreaking, funny and poignant collection, 127 eminent men and women remember surviving first contact, massacres and forced removals and resisting more than a century of top-down government policies. Their testimonies paint an unflinchingly honest picture of life and work on the missions, cattle stations and fringes of towns. They speak eloquently of their struggle for self-determination and basic citizen rights. The storytellers also celebrate winning back ownership of more than 410,000 square kilometres of their ancestral lands.

This website brings you extra features to complement the book, including 19 different audio sound bites from these important testimonies.

Buy the book now at the SBS Shop.

Explore Chapters 1- 6

Read the stories & listen to audio

Geoff Shaw
Violet Nampijinpa Downs
Peanut Pontiari
Margaret Kemarre Turner
Joe James Japanangka
Doug Abbott

"This monumental work heralds nothing less than a comprehensive history of a people. The people are Central Australians, bound by the desert they share, their law and our representative body, the Central Australian Land Council, through which this history unfolds."

Rachel Perkins, foreword, Every hill got a story

Explore Chapters 7-12

Read the stories & listen to audio

Sonny Curtis Jappanangka
Joe Young Tjupurrula
Barbara Napanangka Martin
Therese Ryder
Harry Japangardi Jones
Rosemary Plummer Narrurlu
Zita Wallace

(Image: National Archives of Australia)

'This epic narrative shows the extraordinary reversal of circumstances these eminent Central Australians created in their lifetime. The overwhelming feeling I am left with is admiration for their triumph over adversity. This is a history truly written by its victors. The challenge before us is to follow in their footsteps.'

Rachel Perkins, foreword, Every hill got a story

Explore Chapters 13 -18

Read the stories & listen to audio

Doris Stuart Kngwarreye
Myra Kanakiya Taylor Ah Chee
Ted 'Nugget' Robertson Jampijinpa
Francis Jupurrurla Kelly
Veronica Dobson Perrurle
Jimmy Wave Hill Japalyi

(Image: Murray Silby)

Buy the book now at the SBS Shop.

SBS Australia | NITV | Central Land Council | Hardie Grant books

Book compiled and edited by Marg Bowman | Site produced by Luke Briscoe