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Gurindji ranger Ursula Chubb pays her respects to ancestors killed in the early 1900s at Blackfella Creek, where children were tied with wire and dragged by horses, and adults were shot as they fled. They were buried under rocks where they fell. Brenda L Croft, from Yijarni

Friday essay: the untold story behind the 1966 Wave Hill Walk-Off

The Gurindji people of the Northern Territory made history 50 years ago by standing up for their rights to land and better pay. But a new book reveals the deeper story behind the Wave Hill Walk-Off.
Aboriginal elder Max Eulo holds a baby in front of a sea of 70,000 multi-coloured paper hands at the Sydney Opera House in December 2000. David Gray/Reuters

Friday essay: reflections on the idea of a common humanity

Racism is again on the rise in many parts of the world. So is the dehumanisation of our enemies. What hope is there, then, for notions of a common humanity?
The century since the first world war is littered with the broken promises of Muslim rulers to bring about a transition to more representative forms of government. AAP/Asmaa Abdelatif

How the political crises of the modern Muslim world created the climate for Islamic State

The rise of Islamic State and its declaration of the caliphate can be read as part of a wider story that has unfolded since the formation of modern nation states in the Muslim world.
Pregnant women in three Australian cities are not told that lead exposure during pregnancy is linked to miscarriage and early delivery. Flickr/Luca Montanari

Pregnant women and parents misled about dangers of living with lead pollution

Parents in three Australian states are being given misleading advice about the dangers of lead to babies and small children – including failing to warn pregnant women about miscarriage risks.
It’s naive to pretend there are no profound genetic and epigenetic differences between the sexes. Elephant Gun Studios/Flickr

Differences between men and women are more than the sum of their genes

What produces the differences between men and women? Are they trivial or profound? Are they genetic or environmental, or both? And are men really closer genetically to chimpanzees than to women?
Brian Wilson’s music – the subject of Love & Mercy – is like a lesson we relearn each time we listen. Francois Duhamel/

Love & Mercy: what Brian Wilson’s story tells us about genius and music

Much like the music of the man it's based on, Love & Mercy is beautiful, complex, somewhat melancholy, and thought-provoking. It also teaches us some things about creative genius, innovation, and art.
The young aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville, sketch by an unknown artist. Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

Why we should still be reading Democracy in America

To mark Independence Day, an Australian perspective on why - 180 years on - Alexis de Tocqueville's classic political text is a must-read.
An historian reading the government White Paper on developing northern Australia will realise we’re actually heading all the way back to the 1890s. andrew matthews/Flickr

Northern development plan shows Australia’s fraught vision of our tropics

The federal government's recent White Paper on developing northern Australia has disturbing echoes of the 1890s, a time when unbridled capitalism and indentured labour developed the North.
Fury Road revisits the originality of Australian New Wave film-making by representing absurd, new and null cultural signs. @Warner Bros

Stanza and deliver – the filmic poetry of Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road has generated heated coverage since its release last month. But focussing on the film's terse script may be missing the point: it should be read as a poem, and a provocative one at that.
Loggerhead turtle populations are facing a brighter future, but many other species are still in decline, while for others there are no data at all. AAP Image/Lauren Bath

We’ve only monitored a fraction of the Barrier Reef’s species

The Great Barrier Reef is home to some 1,600 species of bony fish, 130 sharks and rays, and turtles, mammals and more. Most have had no population monitoring, meaning we don't know how well they are faring.
George Brandis shocked the arts sector – and particularly the Australia Council – with his overhaul of the allocation of arts funding. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

The arts minister has wrenched our culture away from the artists

The more the 2015 arts budget is examined the less sense it makes. The changes contribute little strategically or politically – they just make an entire sector nervous. And culturally, they will improve nothing.
One of the works on display at Earth and Sky:John Mawurndjul’s Mardayin ceremony 2000 (detail). Natural pigments on eucalyptus bark, 170 x 78 cm. Don Mitchell Bequest Fund 2000. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. © John Mawurndjul. Tarrawarra Museum of Art

Enthusiastic spirit: John Mawurndjul at Tarrawarra

Hetti Perkins has curated an exhibition of bark paintings by John Mawurndjul and Gulumbu Yunupingu that is currently on display at Tarrawarra Museum of Art. Who are these artists – and how have their lives shaped their artworks?

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