A killing. A hidden history. A story that goes to the heart of the nation.
When Mark McKenna set out to write a history of the centre of Australia, he had no idea what he would discover. One event in 1934 — the shooting at Uluru of Aboriginal man Yokunnuna by white policeman Bill McKinnon, and subsequent Commonwealth inquiry — stood out as a mirror of racial politics in the Northern Territory at the time.
But then, through speaking with the families of both killer and victim, McKenna unearthed new evidence that transformed the historical record and the meaning of the event for today. As he explains, ‘Every thread of the story connected to the present in surprising ways.’ In a sequence of powerful revelations, McKenna explores what truth-telling and reconciliation look like in practice.
Return to Uluru brings a cold case to life. It speaks directly to the Black Lives Matter movement, but is completely Australian. Recalling Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man, it is superbly written, moving, and full of astonishing, unexpected twists. Ultimately it is a story of recognition and return, which goes to the very heart of the country. At the centre of it all is Uluru, the sacred site where paths fatefully converged.
‘Mark McKenna has exposed the wounded heart of Australia. Never has a history of our country so assumed the power of sacred myth. Return to Uluru is a spellbinding story of death and resurrection that is Australian to its core.’ —James Boyce
‘Mark McKenna sets the highest standard for truth-telling of the kind that Australians so urgently need if they are to live in this country with honour. I feel sure that this book will become an Australian classic, not the first of its kind, but certainly the most powerful narrative I have read of frontier injustice and its resonance in our lives today.’ —Marcia Langton