“A triumph of reconciliation” Emeritus Professor Lyndall Ryan AM FAHA



Only being aware of the past 

                 can we understand the present 

                                   to live into the future 

The radical and idealistic Olive Pink worked on the edge of the

 frontier of Australian history through the turbulent first 75 years

 of the 20th century. A woman warrior for Indigenous people, she tolerated

 no cover-up by individuals, society, governments or the law.

* * * * * 

With a meticulously researched, absorbing verse narrative, Colleen Keating

brings Olive Muriel Pink’s significant, neglected history to life with distinctive,

beautiful imagery. In powerful lyrical stanzas, she tells the story of Olive’s struggle

for recognition as a female anthropologist, her life-long work for the rights

of the Warlpiri and Arrernte people she loved and lived among, and the creation

of her arid garden. ‘High on a camel swaying to and fro /with a straight back

and a broad smile / Olive rides into her future.”  Olive’s persistence, her triumphs

and her passion for justice make for uplifting and compelling reading.          

   – Pip Griffin, poet


Olive Pink is one of Australia’s  unsung heroines.  In this original and

deeply moving biographical verse novel, Colleen Keating enables Olive Pink’s

experiences with Aboriginal people in Central Australia to emerge with

sensitivity, intellectual curiosity, understanding and grace.  It is a triumph

for reconciliation and will surely enter the annals of Australian literature.’   

    Emeritus Professor Lyndall Ryan  AM FAHA 


A play, a dance, books, a proposed film, an opera and now a wonderful

narrative poem by Colleen Keating. I wonder what Miss Pink would think

about all this attention – her battles and passions appreciated at last!!

      Dr. Gillian Ward,   Curator and author


Olive Pink’s life floats off the page – very much the character I’ve come

 to know and admire while translating her experience into music across

 this past decade.  Colleen Keating gives us a seriously beautiful work

 based on research that brings Olive vividly to life.  It is wonderful

 to see the astonishing story of this Australian woman Olive Pink, 

given the attention she so deserves. Such a visionary.

      –  Emeritus Professor Anne Boyd AM  Composer of the Olive Pink Opera


An invaluable and powerful addition to the story of Australian women who

 lived their lives working for equality and social justice.  A joy to read.

      – Elizabeth Keating-Jones  MA