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Audio Brian Clouston describes the success of 'We are going', 2007

TLF ID R8854

This is an edited sound recording of Brian Clouston, the founder of Brisbane-based Jacaranda Press, discussing the publication in 1964 of 'We are going', a book of poetry by Oodgeroo Noonuccal (known at the time as Kath Walker). Clouston describes the 'phenomenal' success of the book, and outlines why he believes it was so successful. The recording was made in October 2007 and lasts for 37 s.

Educational details

Educational value
  • 'We are going' was the first published book of poetry by an Indigenous Australian and its publisher, Brian Clouston (1923-2008), outlines how the first edition sold out in three days and the book went to nine sell-out editions in just a few months. Rights to the book were sold to a New York publisher, and many copies were sold overseas also. The poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal (1920-93) was also a lifelong campaigner for Indigenous rights.
  • In this recording, Clouston tells how 'We are going' was the most successful Indigenous book ever published by Jacaranda Press, an independent publishing house that he founded in 1954 in Brisbane. Jacaranda Press specialised in poetry and books for Australian schools. It helped to popularise books with Indigenous themes including some by Indigenous authors at a time when they were not widely read.
  • Clouston tells how he believes 'We are going' was so successful because it 'struck a chord' with the public and it received favourable press reviews as Jacaranda Press sent Noonuccal on a promotional tour around the country. He comments that by 1964 Australia was 'ready to welcome an Indigenous author'.
  • Noonuccal believed that 'poetry would be the breakthrough for the Aboriginal people because they were storytellers and songmakers, and I thought poetry would appeal to them more than anything else. It was more of a book of their voices that I was trying to bring out, and I think I succeeded in doing this' ( She was later awarded the Fellowship of Australian Writers Award and the Dame Mary Gilmore Medal for her poetry.

Other details

  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Remarks: Copyright Education Services Australia
  • Content provider
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 2007
  • Name: Brian Clouston
  • Remarks: speaker
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
Learning resource type
  • Sound
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Operating systems
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  • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.