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A History of Oenpelli by Keith Cole

A History of Oenpelli by Keith Cole

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A History of Oenpelli

by Keith Cole

Nungalinya Publications, 1975, [First Edition], ISBN 0909821119, black and white photographic plates, black and white photographic frontispiece flyer, hardcover, dustjacket

Very Good Condition, minor edge and shelf wear, no inscriptions, dustjacket shows minor edge and shelf wear (see photographs)

“The History of Oenpelli is one of three publications, which are being produced for Oenpelli Jubilee on October 1975.  The first of this trilogy is Oenpelli Pioneer, a biography of the Rev.  A. J. Dyer, who, with his wife, pioneered the CMS Oenpelli Mission from 1925-1934.  This history is the second of the trilogy, and the projected third is to be called Oenpelli, changing patterns of life among the Aborigines of Western Arnhem Land.
this manuscript has been written in difficult circumstances.  Almost all my “quarry” material on Oepelli, which had been related to me by Aborigines or culled from Minutes, Reports and Government and Mission documents over a number of years, were lost during Cyclone Tracy, which devastated Darwin on Christmas Day, 1974.  This meant that relevant information for this work had once again to be gathered from Southern as well as North Australian sources.  Then the actual writing had to be undertaken piecemeal during the four months following the cyclone, when opportunity arose between shifting from house to house, cleaning up the debris after the holocaust, arranging for rebuilding the College and attending to the numerous matters resulting from the cyclone.
These alluvial plains are composed chiefly of tertiary sands and silts derived from the adjoining plateau.  They are particularly ill-drained features, lying only about six meters above present mean sea-level.  They are dotted with residuals, such as Tor Rock, which originally were part of the main escarpment of the Spencer Ranges.  This escarpment rises fairly abruptly to a height of 245 meters in a series plateau, which occupies the central part of the Reserve.  Large rivers flow down to the sea from this central plateau, the most significant for Oenpelli being the East Alligator River.  Because of the strong 7-9 tidal range of the Arafura Sea, the East Alligator River is tidal 50 kilometres (31 miles) inland.
Oenpelli lies on a slight rise of the coastal plains about 11 kilometres (7 miles) to the north of the escarpment.  Three hills, Inyalak, Arrguluk and Nimbabbirr overlook the settlement, which is adjacent to a large, freshwater billabong, one of the permanent surface waters in the area.  The whole area around Oenpelli, including Inyalak, the billabong and the town itself is known as Gunbalanya.  Gunbalanya is the Gunwinggu rendering of Unbalanj or Awunbelenja in the Mengerr (Mangeri) language, and Oenpelli was the early European attempt to say this name.  (See article by Dr A. Capell, “Languages of Arnhem Land, North Australia” in Oceania Vol. XII, No. 4, P. 372)…” 

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