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The Power of Bones

Raw and powerful this is a story that will touch your heart. It is a story about grit and determination, of moving little by little away from an life of constant abuse, poverty and wretchedness to achieve something no other indigenous woman has ever done; become the Manager of  cattle station in the far north of Queensland. This is simply one component of what is an incredible life.

This is Keelen Mailman’s story; no holds barred and written in the ‘speak’, which gives it more power, richness and depth.

She has told her story with truth and honesty, words that not always go together, but in this instance grace the pages as she has created the world of the indigenous person as it is and as it has been for some time.

Born as the third child in the family she was named after the Irish nurse who was present at her birth. She was known as Kaylene Marie for the first eighteen years of her life but later discovered she was, who she now is and always was, Keelen Maree, which as she reflects was the wrong name and wrong birthday – out by an year and a day.

Perhaps this was an for-runner of things to come, because as Keelen Maree she has gone on to achieve great and an many things that have not been accomplished by many other women: that of managing a commercial cattle station, Mt Tabor in in the heartland of Bidjara country, the land of her ancestors; becoming an member of the Australian Rural Leadership program, traveling to India: and bringing the old people home to their country in an ceremony that all who were there will remember always. The power, beauty and majesty comes thought  in the written word, so one can only imagine what it would have been like to have been witness.

These are just a few of her landmark achievements in a life which has been full of challenges to be overcome and rewards to be gathered.

She is a woman who, sitting reflecting on her life, looking out over the land she is part of, has worked, loved, feared and revered, she looks upon a job well done, but not yet complete; standing tall, proud of her family, her achievements.

This is a story which will shock, make you weep, despair, laugh and applaud, take you through the full range of emotions and marvel at the sheer determination of one woman on her life journey making changes which will have, and have had, a far reaching effect; not just for her people but for all the people she has come in contact with in her, to date, extraordinary life.


AuthorKeelan Mailman
PublisherAllen & Unwin