Writing back

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

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  • 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.

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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...

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