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Do writers like Grenville have the right to speak on behalf of Indigenous peoples, or to tell their stories?If not, should the Aboriginal characters in their novels remain without a voice? This anxiety about representation troubled Grenville’s writing process.
Hard work is rightly said to be the key to success.
One can find real happiness in work and nowhere else.
This event, Grenville writes in her memoir Searching for the Secret River (2006), prompted an exploration of her family past: Now, for the first time, I wondered what had happened when Wiseman had arrived there and started the business of ‘settling’.
Until this moment it had never occurred to me to wonder who might have been living on that land, and how he’d persuaded them to leave it.
It is said that Alexander was unhappy even after conquering major part of the world since he felt that there was no more world to be conquered.
Great generals and rulers like Julius Caesar, Napolean, Changez Khan, Timur, Hitler and others had an insatiable desire for land and they could not be said to be quite happy even after winning so many battles and conquering Country after country.’s protagonist Will Thornhill, came to Sydney as a convict and eventually settled on the Hawkesbury River where he established a ferry-run and an inn.Grenville’s mother spoke of Wiseman with pride and intrigue, believing her convict forebears had “shown a bit of spirit …Corrupt and underhand methods to earn money only demean and dehumanize a man and peace of mind eludes such a man.So, if a man leads a simple, honest life, and is hard working, he can really live a happy life.Grenville’s novel sparked controversy when it was published.The play reopens these contentious questions about who can tell the story of our shared history.But The Secret River always gestured to a wider story. Stanner’s 1968 Boyer Lectures about the suppressed memory of colonial violence – “there is a secret river of blood in Australian history”.It asks provocative questions about the silences in one family, but also in our nation’s history. It describes the river Grenville’s ancestors lived on, an inlet hidden by bush. Armfield wrote in a Sydney Theatre Company teacher resource, “The Secret River is a difficult story to tell” because “it leads relentlessly into dark places”. She has argued, Unpacking family histories can be a way to confront the past and understand our ancestor’s choices.But are we willing to accept that the stories we inherit may only be part of the picture?And are we prepared to listen to other people’s stories to hear the rest?