What the Colonists Never Knew paints a vivid picture of what it was like to grow up Aboriginal in Sydney, alongside the colonists, from 1788 to the present.
Peter Read's exploration of the history of Aboriginal Sydney is interwoven with Dennis Foley's memories of his own Gai-mariagal country, taking readers on a journey through the region's past. This book offers an honest account of the disappointment, pain and terror experienced by Sydney's First Peoples and celebrates the survival of their spirit and their culture.
"This is a mesmerising read. It flows from rich anecdotal remembrance loaded with song and lore to incisive commentary about legislation, then slips seamlessly into detailed evocation of pre-colonial life. I have always loved Foley's ability to bring a story to life and Read's measured but uncompromising analysis... I love this bloody book." - Bruce Pascoe, author of Dark Emu
"There has never been a book like this before. Dazzling, revelatory, unheralded." - Melissa Lucashenko, author of Mullumbimby and Too Much Lip
"Come into this book to find a Sydney that many of us have never seen. This is a Sydney which to this day belongs to a network of vivid, tenacious, funny and courageous Aboriginal people. Dennis and Peter are both master storytellers and bring to us the rich and moving stories of people who lived on, and travelled around, the paths and waterways of the city, to keep close to the people and country they cared about." - Heather Goodall, author of Invasion to Embassy: Land in Aboriginal Politics in New South Wales 1770-1972 and co-author of Rivers and Resilience: Aboriginal People on Sydney's Georges River