Christobel is a prolific author mostly of children’s books, with over 60 titles in her career. Many of these projects have been as author in community. In 2009 she co-authored Maralinga, the Anangu story with members of the Yalata community. This received several awards including Honour Book Children’s Book Council of Australia Eve Pownall Award for Non-Fiction 2010.
Creative Work Examples: Maralinga – The Anangu Story
Text and anecdote from page 40
“Kanytji, Yami’s stepfather, was born at Mimili, ‘a long time ago, before there were whitefellas or their bullocks or sheep or horses’. He was mustering bullocks when he heard a bang in the early morning and saw smoke cuppatea time. ‘It was different from other clouds. It was from the ground and it was black. The smoke was below and the cloud was at the top. There was like a sprinkling rain, like dropping of dew. But there had been no rain. The smell was on our clothes and bodies. We felt cold and shivery. A shiver went through the heart. I was coughing – a little bit sorry. Pingkayi got sore eyes. I got sore eyes. Yami got sore eyes. Before that Yami had good eyes. Then my grandmother passed away.”
About the Authors and Process
Respected member of the Yalata community and artist, Mima Smart writes:
‘Alice Cox, Margaret May, Pansy Woods, Mabel Queama, Marjorie Sandimar, Yvonne Edwards, Mima Smart, Janet May worked as storytellers or translators with Christobel Mattingley to tell the story of what happened at Maralinga. Our story is a very important story that needs to be heard by children and adults across our country.
Christobel has added a lot of other stories and information to make a very strong story. We have continued working on the book this year and have just finished another workshop to draw pictures that help tell our story. Dora Queama, Hilda Moodoo, Audra Bridley and Noelene Bridley have helped some of the older ladies to do the paintings.’