Book Review: Tall Man: The Death of Doomadgee – Chloe Hooper

The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island


This book opened my eyes anew to the state of our Aboriginal communities. How terribly ignorant I have been, and I quite love books that blow apart my ignorance.

It is about the death of an Aboriginal man in police custody on Palm Island, and explores the conditions in the community, the police and other workers and their relationship with the community, and the tragedy of deaths in custody.

This book was so well written, that despite dealing with what could be tedious court details, the author manages to have it read like a narrative. It seemed to be an unbiased dealing with a complex issue. The loss of life among the Aboriginal community is a disgrace. I was reminded again that Australia’s terrible history has left a broken culture.

I don’t know a single person of Aboriginal descent. This is a terrible shame and speaks of not only the demographic where I was raised, but also of general state of affairs between white and indigenous Australians. My study of Aboriginal culture as school was brief and superficial…a hat tip really to appease the policy makers.

This book made me want to learn more about Aboriginal culture. I want to understand these people who are so misunderstood, whose culture has been broken by so much injustice.

This book was excellent. I would recommend it to anyone interested in Australian history, Aboriginal culture and communities, social justice, poverty and the law.


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