Outlaw one

Defending identity in the native title area

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  • Published 20170207
  • ISBN: 9781925498295
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

‘THE WIND IS my hairdresser,’ says Sue Coleman Haseldine, known locally as Aunty Sue, stepping out into her dusty yard and letting the hot north wind rush through tangled thick black hair. A wire clothesline stretches across the dirt yard, tractors and car carcasses rust away in a nearby paddock, dogs run out to greet approaching cars, and in the middle of this scene Sue stands with a cigarette in a curled hand. She lives on a wheat farm with her whitefella husband, Gary, near the small, isolated South Australian town of Ceduna. From her yard, a strip of flat grey-blue sea can be glimpsed to the south. North of the chip-dry paddocks, ‘out the back’, lies a vast stretch of bush – stunted mallee shrublands roll away on sandy waves.

The task of the hairdresser is to subdue and shape hair, human hands and tools bringing this naturally occurring stuff under their control. But Sue styles herself in conscious opposition to this, subverting the hierarchy of human will/natural forces. She is drawn to images of wildness and rebellion, joyfully submitting to the wind, which here represents the unpredictable and powerful forces of the natural world and its capacity to overpower human designs.

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