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May 19, 2021

Former north-coast teacher tells tale of culture clash

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Author Vince Kean with Richmond MP Justine Elliot yesterday after the MP launched his latest book Tasmantic Man yesterday.
Author Vince Kean with Richmond MP Justine Elliot yesterday after the MP launched his latest book Tasmantic Man.

Murwillumbah-based author, bushwalker and former teacher Vince Kean has delved into fiction for his latest book, writing a story on the the impact of the Queensland gold rush on Aboriginal culture.

The Bangalow-Born and Byron Bay-raised Kean’s latest work, Tasmantic Man, was officially launched by Richmond MP Justine Elliot at the Murwillumbah Rowing Club yesterday.

Twenty-five years ago, Kean and co-author Rob Blanch wrote a much acclaimed and still sought after book on bushwalking around the Tweed Valley.

He has since been travelling and accumulating ideas and backgrounds for his latest excursion into print, this time turning to adventure fiction, yet still maintaining strong links with wilderness and nature.

Tasmantic Man, according to his publicist, is a compelling tale building on accepted facts from Australian pre-history and focusing on the clash of traditional aboriginal, academic and commercial worlds in the region of the Old Palmer Goldfields, Queensland.

The novel covers issues of sacred sites, land rights and the conflicts involved between tradition and modernism.

Vince said it was his second novel, launched at the same time as his first book Atmosterics, which has only recently become available.

Tasmantic Man’s storyline was inspired and driven by my interests in aboriginal studies, with the setting motivated by my trip to the Cape in 1996, where I visited Maytown, the site of the Palmer River Gold Rush,’ he said.

‘Issues tied into the storyline are items of vital interest to modern Australia which were pursued as a result of teaching a course that I developed on aboriginal studies.

‘The title was chosen to emphasise the cultural origins of modern man deep in Australia. I wanted to propose an Australian origin for modern man rather than the traditional African or European origins.

‘Our Aborigines were the most culturally advanced people on earth 50,000 years ago, why shouldn’t the rest of the world learn from our ancestors?’

Vince was born in Bangalow and raised in Byron Bay. Formally a high school teacher, Vince was posted to teach at Murwillumbah High School in 1970, settling here with his wife Susan and their three children Bethaney, Daniel and Charles.

Throughout Vince’s 35 years of teaching, he developed a course in aboriginal studies, through interests in general reading, which inspired the writing of his most recent novel.

Vince claims that his developed course in aboriginal studies was perhaps the most educationally satisfying thing he did in his years of teaching.

Vince’s son Charles designed the cover illustrations for both his father’s novels.

His books are available at local bookstore Heidi’s Place, in Queen Street, Murwillumbah.


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