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Review: Gumbuli of Ngukurr: Aboriginal Elder in Arnhem Land

Gumbuli of Ngukurr: Aboriginal Elder in Arnhem Land; Murray Seiffert; Acorn Press, Melbourne, 2011

Over a decade ago, author Murray Seiffert and some colleagues were discussing the books that have been written about the Arnhem Land communities where CMS has been involved. They realised that all of them have focused primarily on the missionaries, and seldom on the people they went to serve.

Murray (who subsequently became a CMS missionary in the north himself) resolved to redress that imbalance. And what better subject than Rev Canon Michael Gumbuli Wurramurra, AO—the first Indigenous Anglican clergyman in the Northern Territory, the driving force behind the first complete Bible in an Aboriginal language, and an ‘elder statesman’ to the Indigenous Anglican Church in the Territory, even at the age of 75! This is also the biography of Ngukurr, site of the first CMS mission in the north, and the community where Gumbuli has ministered for 40 years.

Murray has striven to produce a book that is both painstakingly researched and simply written, accessible to historians and ordinary readers alike. A percentage of every copy of Gumbuli of Ngukurr sold will be donated to the community of Ngukurr.


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