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First Garden tells the story of Olive Pink—a
trailblazing Aboriginal land rights activist and environmentalist. Ridiculed by
her peers and shunned by the Alice Springs community for espousing ideals that
were considered to be outlandish she was viewed as a public nuisance, to be
barely tolerated. However, due to her vigor and vision the Olive Pink Botanical
Garden was established in Alice Springs.
First Garden also touches on key narratives
in modern Australian identity, seamlessly incorporating Aboriginal rights,
environmentalism, the Gallipoli legend and feminism into its gentle rhythmic
tone. This reflects a maturation of our society, where we are prepared not only
to acknowledge but also to reconcile.
2014 Northern Territory Read Awards (shortlist)
2014 Northern Territory Literary Awards - Chief Minister's Book of the Year Award (shortlist)
Cast : 4M, 1F
Currency Press | 978-0-86819-947-4 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
CHRISTOPHER RAJA migrated from Calcutta to Melbourne in 1986, and almost twenty years later he moved again, further inland, living and working in Alice Springs since 2004. Chris was co-guest consultant editor of
Meanjin’s Australasian issue in 2004 and since then has been a regular contributor to
Art Monthly Australia. His short story
After the Wreck was adapted for radio and broadcast on ABC Radio National’s Short Story Program in 2007. His play
Drew’s Seizure was performed at Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs in 2009. Chris worked as the NT Correspondent for Art Monthly Australia from 2010 to 2011 and he is currently a History and English teacher at St Philip’s College, Alice Springs. He and his actor wife Natasha co-wrote
The First Garden, with the assistance of a grant from Arts NT, which premiered in September 2011 and played over six nights at the Olive Pink Botanic Garden. Chris co-curated ‘Art of the Nomads’ at the Chan Contemporary Art Space in Darwin in April 2012. He was selected for the Australian Society of Authors 2011/2012 mentorship program. His novel
The Burning Elephant
will be published by Giramondo in 2015.
NATASHA RAJA was born in Port Adelaide in 1984 and began performing shortly thereafter. In 2000 Natasha moved to Alice Springs and continued to perform at local events. After matriculation, she spent five years looking after the elderly and disabled in town and on remote communities in the APY lands and Yuendumu. In 2007 the birth of her daughter Harper inspired Natasha to embark on a creative journey. She coordinated Alice Springs’ first short play festival ‘Bite Sized Theatre’ in which she also played Eric, a precocious embryo. Natasha has been the dulcet voice of Wearable Arts for the past four years. In 2010 she was Jill Tanner in the production Butterflies Are Free’ More recently she has encouraged her husband Chris to get involved in theatre and together, whilst waiting for the arrival of their daughter Jala, they wrote
The First Garden.