Alf Taylor’s poetry and fiction voiced in Nyoongar English are a collection of his best. Nyoongar histories pay necessary attention to a way of life forced by colonisation. Taylor has a wicked sense of humour that he dexterously laces through his eloquent writing style. Despite an existence on the fringes of white society, his characters are affable, while watjellas (non-Aboriginal) are depicted with skilful parody.
Taylor laments the destruction of beautiful forests to farming as Nyoongars indulge in gerbah (alcohol) to grieve in their country’s remnants. Buntji (amorous) men are no spring chickens in Taylor’s reckoning. In their late 60s and 70s, scrawny, cheeky and well beyond the average life expectancy of Aboriginal men, his portrayals of Nyoongars are entertaining and evocative. Spirits visit family with important messages; friendships are strong; young lovers linger in embrace; and Elder respect is unconditional. Alf Taylor’s delightful stories expound the foibles of Nyoongar lore.