Joy Murphy (text), Lisa Kennedy (illus.) Welcome to Country, Black Dog Books/Walker Books Australia, 1 August 2016, 32pp., $24.99, ISBN: 9781922244871
Aunty Joy Murphy is the Senior Aboriginal Elder of the Wurundjeri People of Melbourne and surrounds. Lisa Kennedy is a descendant of the Trawlwoolway people of north-east Tasmania. Each double page of this book is a richly coloured depiction of aspects of the creation stories of the Wurundjeri people, including the role of Bunjil the eagle, the importance of the manna gum, and the language of this place. The book is a plea to all those who come to this land to take from it only what they can give back, and to respect the deep attachment of the indigenous people to this location. It is also a text for Joy Murphy’s expressions of welcome to audiences at an introductory recognition of country. This book is a strong reminder that even where large cities now exist, this land was held and cared for over many thousands of years by people who understood it and still hold it in their hearts. This is an invitation to readers to embrace a sense of their country that not only puts its long Aboriginal history first, but values what that history can offer to us today. Recommended for readers five to fifty.
Reviewed by Kevin Brophy