Return to Uluru
A killing. A hidden history. A story that goes to the heart of the nation.
When Mark McKenna set out to write a history of the centre of Australia, he had no idea what he would discover. One event in 1934 – the shooting at Uluru of Aboriginal man Yokununna by white policeman Bill McKinnon, and subsequent Commonwealth inquiry – stood out as a mirror of racial politics in the Northern Territory at the time.
But then, through speaking with the families of both killer and victim, McKenna unearthed new evidence that transformed the historical record and the meaning of the event for today. As he explains, ‘Every thread of the story connected to the present in surprising ways.’ In a sequence of powerful revelations, McKenna explores what truth-telling and reconciliation look like in practice.
Return to Uluru brings a cold case to life. It speaks directly to the Black Lives Matter movement, but is completely Australian. Recalling Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man, it is superbly written, moving, and full of astonishing, unexpected twists. Ultimately it is a story of recognition and return, which goes to the very heart of the country. At the centre of it all is Uluru, the sacred site where paths fatefully converged.
‘Mark McKenna sets the highest standard for truth-telling of the kind that Australians so urgently need if they are to live in this country with honour. I feel sure that this book will become an Australian classic, not the first of its kind, but certainly the most powerful narrative I have read of frontier injustice and its resonance in our lives today.’ —Marcia Langton
‘A timely elevation of a foundational Australian–Aṉangu story in the age of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The Uluru Statement seeks to enshrine, as this book does, the ancient polities of this land within the framework of Australian democracy. Return to Uluru will form an important part of Australia’s truth-telling canon.’ —Megan Davis
About the author
Mark McKenna is one of Australia’s leading historians, based at the University of Sydney. He is the author of several prize-winning books, including From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories, Looking for Blackfellas’ Point and An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark, which won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for nonfiction and the Victorian, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australian premiers’ awards.
Published February 2021
234mm x 153mm