Winning Stories in the Kimberley. "We Won the Victory: Aborigines and Outsiders on the North-West Coast of the Kimberley", by Ian Crawford. [review]
Ian Crawford's title announces his book’s challenge: to provide a view of Kimberley history that builds on the foundations of Aboriginal oral tradition. The title is taken from Aboriginal storyteller Sam Woolagoodjah’s account of the first pastoral settlement of the Kimberley in the early 1860s. The events that led the settlers to abandon the Kimberley after just a few years are only sketched here. Crawford opts instead for the short version of the story given by Aboriginal people, which credits their ancestors with ‘getting rid’ of the first pastoralists; in other words, ‘We won the victory’. The ‘victory’ was hollow and its details are missing, but by the end of this book we know that the title is also a reference to the irony and ambivalence felt by Aboriginal storytellers towards Europeans.