Grog War

Magabala Books
Alexis Wright
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A revamped Magabala classic by Miles Franklin award‑winning author Alexis Wright.

First published in 1997, this vivid portrayal of how the Indigenous people of Tennant Creek worked together to achieve community-wide alcohol restrictions, is more relevant now than ever. A searing account of what transpired over 25 years ago, Grog War provides historical context and Indigenous-led solutions to the challenges still confronting communities and towns throughout Australia.

In the '90s, Wright was commissioned by the Julalikari Council of Tennant Creek to write Grog War, to document how Aboriginal Elders and leaders dealt with the invasion of grog on Warumungu land and the enormous struggle it took to introduce simple alcohol restrictions in the town. Grog War traces an Indigenous-led movement of self-determination that shifted the blame from Aboriginal people for public drunkenness to looking at the way grog is pushed and sold, in turn challenging the town and government to share responsibility.

Aboriginal Elders and community advisors in Tennant Creek fought for years to put alcohol restrictions in place and they are still fighting. Their courage and tenacity is an inspiration for other towns in Australia who are battling against the tide of alcohol abuse and resistance from licencees and the broader community.

Grog War is essential reading for all those working towards and interested in Indigenous self-determination, for community leaders, legislators, health workers, social workers — and for our young people — so that all Australian children might grow up with a better understanding of what Indigenous people have fought hard to achieve in this country.