23 August 2008

The Versatile Man, by Terry Whitebeach, launched by Peter Read

Terry Whitebeach recently gave a lecture to the Indigenous Biography group at the National Museum in Canberra on 4 August on The Versatile Man, her biography of Kaytetye stockman and cattle station owner, Don Ross.

Published by IAD Press, The Versatile Man was launched by Peter Read at the Indigenous Lives conference at the National Museum in 2007.

The book provides an important perspective to Indigenous history, and has already been listed by several universities in their curriculum materials.

Overseas it's been listed by the University of Barcelona, Spain as a set text in their Australian Studies course.

Asked why she thought her biography had appealed to people in Spain, Terry said the book can be read on a number of levels:

"Many people identify with the story of someone who had no legitimate place in the society in which they were born, but who made their own way, against the odds, through sheer skill and personal charisma. Also, the pastoral focus of much of the book is familiar to many Spanish and South American students."

The Versatile Man is an account of the working life a stockman, of Kaytetye and European ancestry, who lived through the momentous changes brought by the 20th century on both sides of the frontier in outback Central Australia.

Terry Whitebeach, author of two collections of poetry, three radio plays and two novels for young adults, has a PhD in history/biography. Currently, she is on the board of the Tasmanian Writers Centre and is one of the two Australian Society of Authors' Tasmanian board members.

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