Black Sheep: Journey to Borroloola

Originally published by Profile Books (2002) and Hardie Grant Books (2002)
Published by Allen & Unwin (2012)

Shortlisted for The Age Book of the Year 2003 (Non fiction)

‘I was a child when I first heard of him …
There was a photograph of an old man with a prophet’s beard and funny clothes standing outside an odd corrugated-iron dwelling in the middle of nowhere. Roger Jose lived with his Aboriginal wife in an upside-down water tank in a place called Borroloola. He used to push her along in a wheelbarrow because she was too fat to walk. He was about as far beyond the pale as you could go … “living blackfella” in a policeman’s disapproving words.’

This highly original book – history, travel book, memoir, quest – sets out to discover Roger Jose, perhaps a distant relative, and his life in a remote Aboriginal community on Australia’s farthest shore, reading world literature and evolving his own radical philosophy. Roger’s chosen motto, still pinned up in Borroloola, was ‘Man’s greatness is the fewness of his needs.’ In his journey through the Gulf of Carpentaria searching for Roger, Nicholas Jose also met a young Gangalidda man, Murrandoo Yanner, representative of some of the most deprived Aboriginal communities in Australia who has committed himself to fighting for his people’s rights in their vast and beautiful traditional territory.

This book is the absorbing response of a modern writer to his own heritage.