Life B'long Ali Drummond: A life in the Torres Strait

life b'long cover

Samantha Faulkner

Ali Drummond

Jul, 2007
Auto / Biography
Product type: 
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Aboriginal Studies Press
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$24.95 RRP incl. GST


Family is one of the most important things in Sam Faulkner’s life. Ali Drummond is Sam Faulkner's grandfather, and this is his story.

Ali Drummond has had an extraordinary life, by any standards. Orphaned when young, Ali took to a life at sea aged fourteen. Originally taken on as an apprentice, Ali applied himself to learning the skills he needed to survive and prosper in a sometimes dangerous life seeking pearl shells, trochus and bêche de mer. Alert to the Japanese divers’ knowledge, Ali learnt well from them and went on to become an expert diver and skipper himself.

After years on the mainland, cutting cane, roadworking and supporting his growing family, Ali returned to his beloved Torres Strait. He has been a strong supporter of his community, has enjoyed playing lawn bowls competitively and has provided advice about the maritime environment he knows so well — knowledge now keenly sought by scientists and others. Now 90, Ali is one of a handful of elders able to share these stories first-hand.

Two themes emerge strongly: the importance of Ali’s wife Carmen and their family, and the desire to be out on the water, fishing. Sam Faulkner has rendered Ali Drummond’s life with affection, skilfully weaving together Ali’s stories with colourful reminiscences from his family.

Sam Faulkner’s passion is to share the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia with other Australians and the international community.

Reviews and endorsements

'This book is a useful adjunct to the scholarship, providing as it does a close and laconic account of the experiences of an individual, an "insider", whose specifics and perspectives would be otherwise glossed over, or lost entirely.'

— David Andrew Roberts, Reviews in Australian Studies, 2007

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Last reviewed: 12 Sep 2016