Describe yourself in one word:
Tell us a little about your background:
We have family everywhere from Tasmania to Footscray to Maryborough to Lockhart River. My father’s family are Aboriginal from Tasmania and my mother’s family is said to be Aboriginal but that’s been a difficult search. I was an ignorant Australian when I began looking for Aboriginal family but elders including some from my own family patiently educated me in an Australian history which was at complete odds with what I had learnt at both school and university. It was a shaming experience because it showed how gullible I had been and so ready to dismiss my own people as useless in their defence of their heritage.
One thing you’d like readers to know about Indigenous Australian writings:
Read them as history. Challenge everything you’ve been taught about Aboriginal Australia. Most of it is wrong and deliberately so.
Can you share your specific hopes for reconciliation in Australia?
Learn Australian history, even if that means reading primary explorer references but even then train yourself to alter your point of view to how an Aboriginal person might read that material. e.g McMillan said he discovered Gippsland, but he didn’t say he held a gun to the head of a Monero man, forcing him to show McMillan the country. How did Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson discover a way across the Blue Mountains? A: By following the path shown to them by Aboriginal people. Australia was not a trackless wilderness.
Your all-time favourite novel and/or novelist?
Favourite fictional character:
Number one thing to do on your bucket list:
What’s a bucket list?
What book has changed your opinion/stance on something important to you, and why?
Sir Thomas Mitchell’s Journals. It showed Aboriginal people building large, beautiful houses in villages of over 1,000 people and harvesting grain. Same with Sturt.
Biggest accomplishment to date:
Two kids and chancing on my best friend. I heard her laugh in a stairwell and my life changed on the instant.
What’s next for you?
Work, work, work.
Find Bruce online: