Our stories, our words

What started out as a PhD research project has culminated in a book recording the stories and traditions of the Erambie community in Cowra.

Lawrence Bamblett, who is currently a Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, this month released his 'Our stories are our survival' book.

Published by Aboriginal Studies Press, the book is a combination of Mr Bamblett's PhD document-based research project from 2008 and records of stories he grew up listening to about the feats of Erambie athletes.

"I grew up listening to the stories and was always writing them down on scraps of paper," Mr Bamblett said.

"I just wanted to record what athletes have done. People pass away and you don't want to lose those stories."

He said contained in the book are examples of oral history of the Erambie mission, presenting an alternative to common-held stereotypes in the community.

"It's the way we look at the world. Readers will see how we see ourselves.

"I got sick of people talking bad about our community, people trying to run us [those from a mission] down.

"It didn't fit with what I knew."

There are stories on the Erambie Allblacks and sports such as bare-knuckle fighting.

The process of writing the book began when a literature piece - Sport and cultural continuity on Erambie Mission - derived from his PhD that Mr Bamblett had published for an Aboriginal journal was picked up by a representative from Aboriginal Studies Press, who encouraged him to enter it in the Stanner Award, open to all Indigenous authors, scholars and academics.

Judges awarded the piece highly commended in 2011, which was the catalyst for 'Our stories are our survival' being published.

The copy editing process involved receiving the input from local elders to ensure it was a representation of the Erambie community.

It is his second book, with Mr Bamblett currently working on his third book which will be an illustrated history of Aboriginal boxing.

"I really enjoy the research. I don't see it as work. I really enjoy what I do," he said.

'Our stories are our survival' can be found at bookstores throughout the region and online, including the Aboriginal Studies Press website.

Lawrance Bamblett and his latest project, "Our stories, our survival".

Lawrance Bamblett and his latest project, "Our stories, our survival".