Warlpiri versus the Queen

Alice Springs News Online journalist KIERAN FINNANE (pictured) has brought together her reporting of a number of court cases involving young Warlpiri men in a long and detailed piece of reportage for the current, 10th anniversary edition of the Griffith REVIEW.


Griffith REVIEW is a quarterly journal out of Griffith University in Queensland. It bills itself as Australia’s “best conversation”, a claim widely endorsed by other media and commentators. In its own words it is  “iconoclastic and non-partisan, with a sceptical eye and pragmatically reforming heart and a commitment to public discussion.”


Finnane’s piece is titled ‘Warlpiri versus the Queen’, alluding to what looks like an anarchic Warlpiri resistance to Australian law – cycles of violence wrapped in a web of kinship, custom and rupture. Its central, but not exclusive focus is the trial of former AFL footballer Liam Jurrah, acquitted earlier this year of causing serious harm to his cousin Basil Jurrah on the night of March 7, 2012.


The piece was written before Jurrah was sent to gaol on another matter. He has since been released. And his home community of Yuendumu has since also publicly demonstrated its intention to put to rest the bitter clan feud dividing it.


At present an extract of the piece is available on the Griffith REVIEW’S website. An interview with Finnane is also on the site.



RELATED READING on Alice Springs News Online:


Violence must stop. Forgiveness must rule.

ERWIN CHLANDA’s report of Yuendumu’s reconciliation march  that preceded their reinstated annual Sports Weekend.


Footy glory for Centre’s best last just one weekend

ERWIN CHLANDA’s survey of the employment status of the footy players gathered for the Yuendumu Sports Weekend.


Jurrah pleads guilty to assault, gets six months

KIERAN FINNANE’s report from the sentencing hearing which also sent Jurrah’s co-accused, Mathius Walker, to gaol.


Little Sisters attackers sentenced 

KIERAN FINNANE’s report from the sentencing hearing of the two men who pleaded guilty to attacks at Little Sisters town camp on the night of March 7, 2012.


Liam Jurrah not guilty 

The conclusion of the trial, with links to all the major reports from it.

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2 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Leigh Childs
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Sorry that this has taken so long to comment but I would like to ask Terry:
    1. Which people do you want to “wake up”?
    2. How would you “fix this”? Or maybe the more appropriate question would be, who should “fix this”?

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  2. Terry
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    All the reams of paper from Academia and the do-gooders will not change the facts. What we see as violence in the Aboriginal towns and camps has two causes. One is tradition, payback and the likes, and the other is Booze. Until you remove drink from the equation the violence will continue. My time in the Alice was the period 1972 to 1982 and the violence back then was extreme. 25 years on and nothing has changed, at least not for the better. Wake up people. Fix this.

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