“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

Looking for Olive. Member’s Talk at SWW on Olive Muriel Pink by Colleen Keating




I .00 PM–2.15 PM



Looking for Olive – the radical and idealistic life of Olive Muriel Pink

by Colleen Keating


Colleen, author of five poetry books  with Ginninderra Press and 5 poetry chap books  with Picaro Poets will talk about the inspiration, development and publication of her latest book,  A Poetic Journey with  an Australian women Olive Muriel Pink .  Colleen first became curious after visiting the Olive Pink Botanical Garden  in Alice Springs on a holiday and unable to find local information about Olive.  Back home she became immersed in the passions and struggles of Olive Pink’s story, a pioneer Australian woman of the first half of the 20th century.(1884-1975).  Here was a justice warrior, an advocate for the rights of the Indigenous people, a trained anthropologist, artist, gardener, botanist and curator.  And one whose song needs to be sang.  



A woman writer’s journey – the restorative justice of writing Australian Indigenous themes

by Julie Janson


Keynote speaker – Julie Janson: A woman writer’s journey –  the restorative justice of writing Australian Indigenous themes

Julie is a Burruberongal woman of Darug nation, Hawkesbury River NSW. She grew up with an Aboriginal father and mother of English descent in Boronia Park, Sydney.
She is a teacher, artist, novelist, playwright and poet, and a recipient of the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Poetry Prize and the Judith Wright Poetry Prize.
Julie’s published novels are The Crocodile Hotel (Cyclops Press 2015), The Light Horse Ghost (Nibago 2018) and Benevolence (Magabala 2020). This latest novel will be published by Harper Collins in USA and UK 2021.
In a career as a playwright, Julie’s plays have been produced in Australia, Indonesia and USA:
  *  Two plays-Black Mary and Gunjies (Aboriginal Studies Press 1996)
Gunjies, nominated for an AWGIE
The Crocodile Hotel, nominated for Patrick White Award and Griffin Award
  *  Black Mary produced by Company B Belvoir St Theatre 1997
The Eyes of Marege, Sydney Opera House Studio, Adelaide Festival Centre 2007 and Makassar, Sulawesi
Julie was fortunate to present at the Adelaide Writers Festival 2021, Bendigo Writers Festival 2021 and Byron Bay Writers Festival.
She has also experienced Asialink Literature Residencies Indonesia 2000, 2003; Varuna residency; Tyrone Guthrie Writing Residency, Ireland 2006; Australia Council BR Whiting Residency Rome 2013; Listowel Ireland Writers Festival and Belfast Book Week 2016.

To book and pay:
$10 members, $15 non-members

Book via TryBooking: https://www.trybooking.com/BTSFK

or by direct debit:

The Society of Women Writers NSW Inc
BSB: 062 018
Account:  00950433
Code:  VM (for Keynote Speaker) or VMW (for Workshop)

Email Amanda Mark – Email Amanda –
with your name, receipt number and date of event