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October 19, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
$85 – $95
Event Category:


Pepe’s Italian and Liquor
275 Exhibition Street
Melbourne, Vic 3000 Australia
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The Passion of Private White

Dinner with Don Watson

Hosted by:
Peter Duncan AO

October 19, 2023 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

$85 – $95

The meeting of two worlds underscores The Passion of Private White: that of the intensely driven anthropologist Neville White, and the world of hunter-gatherer clans in remote northern Australia with whom he has lived and worked for half a century, mapping their culture and history in breathtaking detail.

Eventually, scholarly observer crossed the line into activist, advocate and defender of the clans’ effort to create a safe and healthy homeland, a seat both of traditional culture and contemporary skills and education. The enterprise meant overcoming everything from insatiable mining companies and official incompetence and neglect, to customs that were fundamental in the old way of life but dysfunctional in the transition to the new. When White began taking his old platoon mates to the homeland, two wildly different groups found in each other some of the solutions and some of the therapy they both needed.

From the bestselling author of The Bush, the story of a fifty-year relationship between a Vietnam veteran and an isolated clan in north-east Arnhem Land – a unique window into Australia’s deep past and precarious present, by one of our master storytellers.

Don Watson has had his own fifty-year relationship with Neville White, since meeting him as an undergraduate in Melbourne. This book is the result: moving, enlightening, devastating and inspiring, it is a towering achievement, a profound insight into both our recent and our deep history, the coloniser and colonised – indeed into the human condition itself.

You are likely aware of Don Watson’s other books, including the bestselling Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: A Portrait of Paul Keating PMDeath SentenceWatson’s Dictionary of Weasel WordsCaledonia AustralisAmerican Journeys and The Bush. In addition to books and essays, he writes films and gives occasional talks on writing and language.

This special, intimate dinner with Don Watson will give members, potential members and guests an experience to remember.  

(Credit: photograph of Don Watson by Susan Gordon-Brown)

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