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‘Wonderfully illuminating…’
—David Malouf

A deeply personal, profound tribute to family and the Gudanji Country to which Debra Dank belongs.

‘A wonderfully illuminating account of what it is to be a fully successful contributor to our world, but to be alive as well in one that we know too little about. Here, though, we are invited to enter and feel its groundedness and abiding richness.’
David Malouf

‘Reading this book is to take a drink of fresh water from a spring. The language is beautiful, descriptive, and musical. Dank has the voice of a poet. She creates a complex mosaic of words. Images and feelings are rendered in this work revealing a reverence for country, and an intensity of gaze that is rare and to be treasured. This book is a powerful celebration of stories and place.’
—Suzy Wilson, Riverbend Books

‘Deb Dank describes this book as a letter to her Country, and that it is, on many levels. A love story, a lament, a cry from the heart, an outpouring of rage and grief, a tender gathering of family and place and connection and history. It’s part memoir, part imagined past, part family narrative, told in episodes of living and learning which are touching, personal, powerful, and in a strikingly singular voice. We Come With This Place is a beautifully written piece, straight from the heart.’
—David Gaunt, Gleebooks

Many of you will know Debra Dank because of the wonderful work she did as first Project Manager at the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF), the book trade’s charity.

Debra Dank is a Gudanji/Wakaja woman, married to Rick, with three adult children and two grandchildren. An educator, she has worked in teaching and learning for many years – a gift given through the hard work of her parents. She continues to experience the privilege of living with country and with family. Debra completed her PhD in Narrative Theory and Semiotics at Deakin University in 2021.


Debra’s daughter, Ryhia Dank – Nardurna created the cover artwork and design for We Come With This Place.


We Come With This Place is a remarkable book, as rich, varied and surprising as the vast landscape in which it is set. Debra Dank has created an extraordinary mosaic of vivid episodes that move about in time and place to tell an unforgettable story of country and people.

There is great pain in these pages, and anger at injustice, but also great love, in marriage and in family, and for the land. Dank faces head on the ingrained racism, born of brutal practice and harsh legislation, that lies always under the skin of Australia, the racism that calls a little Aboriginal girl names and beats and rapes and disenfranchises the generations before hers. She describes sudden terrible violence, between races and sometimes at home. But overwhelmingly this is a book about strong, beloved parents and grandparents, guiding and teaching their children and grandchildren what country means, about joyful gatherings and the pleasures of eating food provided by the place that nourishes them, both spiritually and physically.

Dank calibrates human emotions with honesty and insight, and there is plenty of dry, down-to-earth humour. You can feel and smell and see the puffs of dust under moving feet, the ever-present burning heat, the bright exuberance of a night-time campfire, the emerald flash of a flock of budgerigars, the journeying wind, the harshness of a station shanty, the welcome scent of fresh water.

We Come With This Place is deeply personal, a profound tribute to family and the Gudanji Country to which Debra Dank belongs, but it is much more than that. Here is Australia as it has been for countless generations, land and people in effortless balance, and Australia as it became, but also Australia as it could and should be.

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