Writing back

A letter to Samuel Griffith from his great-great-grandson

Featured in

  • Published 20220428
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-71-9
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

SIR SAMUEL GRIFFITH was my great-great grandfather. He was one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Australian Federation, a premier of Queensland, the first Chief Justice of Australia and intimately involved in drafting the Australian Constitution. This literary journal bears his name. Other ancestors of mine participated in the frontier wars in North Queensland to brutally claim, ‘settle’ and defend their occupation of Aboriginal lands. In response to the urging of Aboriginal colleagues, I wrote a series of letters to these ancestors for the book Unsettling Australian Histories: Letters to ancestry from a great-great-grandson (2020). The letters in this book also include contributions from Aboriginal Australians and Australian South Sea Islanders in order to articulate and honour First Nations resistances and reclamations. My hope is that these letters – created through cross-cultural friendships and partnerships – engage with the past in ways that foster action in the present.

Now, as Griffith Review reckons with its own connections to colonial authority, I find myself drawn to write a further letter to my ancestry.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at griffithreview@griffith.edu.au

Share article

About the author

David Denborough

David Denborough works as a community practitioner, teacher and songwriter at Dulwich Centre and co-ordinates the master of narrative therapy and community work at...

More from this edition

Zamby, zombi, zombie

Essay ANGRY MEN GATHERED in the dark of night at Bois Caïman, the Alligator Woods, under the shadow of the mountain Morne Rouge in northern...

Beating the bounds

Fiction ‘LIKE THE BROLGA Dancers at the Mullet Run,’ Murree grinned, squatting easily against the base of a gum tree not far below the Botanical...

But we already had a treaty!

Essay IN JULY 2019, the Queensland Government launched a series of community consultations as part of its Path to Treaty initiative. The then Department of...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.