This article was first published in The Monthly. Buy it here.
About halfway between Tennant Creek and Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory, Michael Williams signals for us to pull over for a toilet break. He directs me to a spot by the Stuart Highway where a squat brick memorial commemorates the northernmost point of an expedition led by John McDouall Stuart in 1860 to find the centre of the continent. “A lot of massacres around in this country,” Williams says. “Some fellas got shot, some whitefella got speared. Named the highway after him.” He reads aloud from the memorial’s plaque. “‘Hostile natives and illness forced the party to return.’ See that there? We’re hostile.” He laughs and we get back in the car. Read the rest of this entry »