Oodgeroo in China


Oodgeroo, or Kath Walker, as she then was, visited China from 12 September to 3 October 1984 in a delegation comprising Caroline Turner (as leader), Eric Tan, Rob Adams and Manning Clark. The delegation was organised by the Australia-China Council (ACC), under the auspices of the Department of Foreign Affairs, in response to an invitation from the Shanghai People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, an arm of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. In the composition of the delegation, with its broadly cultural focus, one can perhaps see the hand of Geoffrey Blainey, the ACC's first Chairman, and then Executive Director Jocelyn Chey, who must have enjoyed advising the Shanghai authorities that Oodgeroo's "father was of Noonuccle Tribe, Carpet Snake totem". Caroline Turner, Deputy Director of the Queensland Art Gallery, was an ACC member, as was Perth surgeon Eric Tan. Rob Adams represented the Australia Council. Manning Clark had the distinction of having his Short History of Australia published in China in 1973, for internal distribution in government circles only, with the warning "the author is a bourgeois historian. Many of his opinions are not in line with Marxism."

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Published 1 November 1994 in Oodgeroo: a tribute. Subjects: Australians overseas, China, Crosscultural relations, International relations, Oodgeroo Noonuccal.

Cite as: Jose, Nicholas. ‘Oodgeroo in China.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 16, no. 4, 1994, doi: 10.20314/als.1a7d93365d.