Literature Production Centres at Papunya and Strelley (WA) published hundreds of illustrated books during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. They tell stories of the first contact, the Dreaming, bush plants, animals and life on pastoral stations, missions, government settlements and communities. At the Papunya Literature Production Centre at Papunya School, authors, illustrators and literacy workers, many the kin of world-famous founders of the Papunya Art movement wrote hundreds of stories, created over 70 community newsletters, and thousands of photographs, tapes and videos. These objects, along with an extensive collection of manuscripts, including original drawings, have been safe-kept at the school.

This project will trace the histories of two key centres and the communities in which they were and are embedded, their authors and illustrators, to build a dynamic picture of Indigenous Australia that contributes another dimension to the history of art and literature in Australia. It will produce scholarly papers, a monograph, a digitisation and archiving strategy and an exhibition that brings this story to the Australian public.

CI Samantha Disbray
Research Associate Vivien Johnson
CI Darren Jorgenson, UWA
Research Associate, Inge Kral, UWA
ARC Discovery Project
Photo: Charlotte Phillipus Napurrurla with the Papunya books​​​​​​​


Project members

Dr Samantha Disbray

Director of Indigenous Engagement
Senior Lecturer in Endangered Languages
School of Languages and Cultures