Debesa: The Story of Frank and Katie Rodriguez
Publisher: Magabala Books
Debesa: The Story of Frank and Katie Rodriguez is a social history of the West Kimberley based on the lives of Cindy Solonec’s parents and extended family during the first half of the twentieth century. After Spanish man Frank Rodriguez and Nigena woman Katie Fraser meet and marry, they buy a small sheep station, which they name Debesa. Drawing on her father’s journals and oral histories with her mother’s families, Solonec chronicles her parent’s joys and challenges on the remote property. Told honestly and matter-of-factly, Debesa explores the grief, loss and injustice that results from casual and systemic racism. The overarching story, though, is one of connection — to family, community and culture, with the lives of Katie, Frank and their children being enriched by their Spanish, English and Aboriginal heritage. Debesa is a valuable contribution to the history of the Kimberley told through the unique lens of Katie and Frank Rodriguez’s enduring love for each other and their life on the land.