Debra Dank is a Gudanji/Wakaja woman, married to Rick, with three adult children and two grandchildren. An educator, she has worked in teaching and learning for many years – a gift given through the hard work of her parents. She continues to experience the privilege of living with Country and with family. Debra completed her PhD in Narrative Theory and Semiotics at Deakin University in 2021.
We Come with This Place is a remarkable book, as rich, varied and surprising as the vast landscape in which it is set. Dank has created an extraordinary mosaic of vivid episodes that move about in time and place to tell an unforgettable story of Country and people. She writes beautifully about connection to Country and the ongoing relationships with all kin as practised by Gudanji people.
Dank calibrates human emotions with honesty and insight, and there is plenty of dry, down-to-earth humour. You can feel and smell and see the puffs of dust under moving feet, the ever-present burning heat, the bright exuberance of a night-time campfire, the emerald flash of a flock of budgerigars, the journeying wind, the harshness of station life, the welcome scent of fresh water.
Debra Dank was the first Project Manager for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation when it was Constituted in 2011. Debra is a Gudanji/Wakaja woman and has spent her career in education, completing her PhD at Deakin University in 2021.
We Come with This Place is deeply personal, a profound tribute to family and the Gudanji Country to which Debra Dank belongs, but it is much more than that. Here is Australia as it has been for countless generations, land and people in long-practised balance, and Australia as it became, but also Australia as it could and should be. The shared history of this continent is much contested, and this book provides an alternative Australian story.