World travelling and speculative truth-telling: a review of Terra Nullius by Claire Coleman

Chloe Michele


I read Terra Nullius (Coleman 2017) after listening to an interview with Claire Coleman. She was intelligent, with a clear, striking voice that didn’t hide her discomfort, but challenged us to feel it too. She said:

White people say that Australia is the lucky country, well…who is it lucky for? Because it’s certainly not lucky for us. People always talk about closing the gap, well I think the gap that needs to be closed is the gap between the fiction of Australia and the reality of Australia. The fiction of Australia is terra nullius. The reality is that terra nullius was actually a lie. (‘For us, happy endings feel dishonest’ 2017).

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