Phillip Gijindarraji Hall



My Intervention (in Cowdy)

My Intervention story began in 2011 when I moved to the Northern Territory’s remote Indigenous Borroloola community; a designated growth town located in the Gulf of Carpentaria, a few hundred kilometers from the Queensland border. As a teacher of outdoor education and health I am often sitting around a fire with kids sharing in the cooking of bush tucker parceled in paperbark while developing sport and camp programs designed to teach emotional resiliency, cooperative group learning, safe decision-making and environmental education. The love and generosity of Borroloola’s Indigenous communities in adopting me as family and welcoming me to Country has been my fire’s embers, stoked and releasing sparks, in plumes of rising heat.

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Dystopian Empire

Gossip spot-fires in Borroloola’s Big Camp, excitement incites The Gravel, at Malandari, shopkeepers look up from their stocktaking and the whitefulla foreskins forget their power: dem people fightin’! twobula bardibardi ini dirt an dem whitefullas can’t stop’em… The grey nomad …

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Borroloola Blue

All around our steel home’s broad bull-nosed veranda we’d jack-hammered rock, dug garden beds and ponds, fenced an oasis as we planned for shade, blossoms, wildlife and fruit. Amongst the natives we’d cultivated paw paws, frangipanis, mangoes, bananas … Security …

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Greg McLaren Reviews Phillip Gijindarraji Hall and Benjamin Dodds

These two debut collections cast shade and light upon one other. Both poets construct a complex, convincing and engaging sense of place, exploring belonging (or not) and being in it.

The strongest poems in Phillip Gijindarraji Hall’s Sweetened in Coals quiver and hiss with profusion, connections and abundance. These poems are firmly and specifically situated in place and in country that is constituted both ecologically and culturally. There’s a deep and rich conversation here about place and habitat. Hall’s representation and evocation of specific places is a consistently powerful presence in these poems – dynamic, in flux and abundant with the presence of animal, plant and cultural life.

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