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The Bible in Buffalo Country


We thank and acknowledge the Mandjurlngunj clan for their generosity in supporting this project and for sharing stories of their family. Oenpelli is situated on the unceded land of the Mandjurlngunj people and we pay our respect to their elders, past and present. We would also like to thank the Manilakarr clan whose land and people were also affected by the Oenpelli mission. We would especially like to thank Alfred, Leah and Connie Nayinggul for supporting this book, and for their advice and help with the photographs.

This book has been many years in the making and we are grateful to all our family and friends who have supported us on this journey. The community of Gunbalanya (formerly Oenpelli) have been a major part of this journey and have worked with us to bring this story together. In particular, we thank the dozens of community members who took the time to look at the old photographs and added names or other information. This is an ongoing journey and we look forward to continuing to work with community members to help document and share family and community histories.

We would like to thank Laureate Professors Paul S. C. Taçon (Griffith University) and Ann McGrath (The Australian National University) for their unwavering support of this research and encouragement to collaborate across Laureate programs. This research was funded by the Australian Research Council as part of research grants FL160100123 and FL170100121. We are grateful to the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research (Griffith University) for providing funding towards the costs of copyediting and to the School of History (The Australian National University) for their ongoing support of our research.

We were lucky enough to spend time at the Northern Territory Archive Service while undertaking research for this book. We thank Francois Barr and Emily Prichard for sharing their knowledge of the Oenpelli collections and for assisting us over the years. Without your extensive knowledge of these collections, many photographs and records would have been missed. We are grateful to the Northern Territory Library, the National Museum of Australia, the National Archives of Australia, and the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, for supplying high-resolution photographs and/or permission to use photographs from their collections.

Injalak Arts have been a partner in this research since we began. In particular, we appreciate the support of Alex Ressel, Kerri Meehan, Hayley Birchley, Gabriel Maralngurra, Benson Nagurrgurrba, A. Manakgu, Christine Nabobbob, Helen Nawirridj, Priscilla Badari, Sylvia Badari, Anne Gumurdul, Graham Badari, Josie Maralngurra, Felicity Wright and the Injalak Arts board members. Copies of the photographs were circulated in the community for over a year with names being added to the manuscript throughout this time. We will never know exactly how many people assisted with this process but we thank you all.

We thank A. Manakgu for checking over the spelling of Aboriginal names and words used in this book, especially within the Esther Manakgu story. We are grateful to the Bininj Kunwok Regional Language Centre for their support and advice, especially Murray Garde, Andy Peart and Jill Nganjmirra. We thank Rev. Lois Nadjamerrek from the Emmanuel Anglican Church in Gunbalanya for her insights into local history and her encouragement to bring the Church Missionary Society photographs back to the community and ensure this history is not forgotten.

Thanks also to Tracey Fairman at the Northern Land Council for facilitating permits during the course of this research.

Joakim Goldhahn and Robert Levitus read and commented on chapters of this book and we are grateful for their insights and suggestions. Robert Levitus also kindly shared his unpublished oral history recordings from 1981 with us and allowed us to quote from them. Thanks to Emily Miller who assisted with transcribing some of the archival material, Sandy Blair who provided early inspiration to delve into Oenpelli history, and Janet Davill who helped with archival research.

We are grateful to ANU Press and Aboriginal History Monographs for embracing this project, particularly Rani Kerin and Emily Tinker. We also thank Geoff Hunt for his careful and thorough copyediting.

Finally, the photographs and archival material are published here without restriction and with the support and permission of the Church Missionary Society of Australia. We thank Lyn Milton (CMS Archivist) for facilitating these permissions and Peter Rogers (CMS Director) for his support of this research.

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