Playground: Listening to Stories from Country and from Inside the Heart

Nadia Wheatley, Ken Searle

Playground: Listening to Stories from Country and from Inside the Heart
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Playground: Listening to Stories from Country and from Inside the Heart

Nadia Wheatley, Ken Searle

We use the bush as our school and as our playground, says one of the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people whose voices combine in this anthology of true stories about childhood, compiled from a wide range of memoirs and oral histories.

Alongside reminiscences of getting bush tucker, going fishing and taking part in ceremony, there are descriptions of playing games, building cubbies and having fun. The warmth of home, the love of family and the strength of community shine through every story. Freedom goes hand in hand with responsibility, while respect and sharing are constant themes.

The eighty Elders - both past and present - who have contributed their words or artwork to this book include many prominent community leaders, educators and artists. Their life-stories span the twentieth century.

Just as important are the contemporary stories told by twenty secondary school students. Although some of these young people now make their home in the city, their connection to traditional country remains the source of learning.

As we listen to these stories that come from country and from inside the heart, we find wisdom that could help us care for each other and for the land where we all now live.


The Australian outback was the indigenous kids’ playground. They listened and learned about country, they lived in a big home without walls and they had the most amazing extended family for warmth, protection and nurture; that’s if they weren’t removed from their families to the world of white detention!

Playground contains truly wonderful stories of growing up in Australia that opens your heart and mind to the joys of being Aboriginal. The photos and artwork highlight their connection with the land and their traditions, which embrace community and ceremony. For readers aged six and up.

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