'Too strong to ever not be there': place names and emotional geographies

Amanda Kearney, John J. Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reflects on the emotional geography of a place; one part of the Yanyuwa people's Indigenous homelands in northern Australia. It offers a biography of a Yanyuwa place that is deemed ‘too strong to ever not be there’. There is no discreet past or present chapter in the story of this place, rather there is a continual narrative that exists right here and now, one that is embodied in emotional engagements drawn from people's connections to the spirit ancestors, the ‘old people’, today's youth, land rights, language and education. It is understood as somewhere of great strength, endurance and power, because such traits are revealed through the very name Manankurra. This is the power of a place name. Manankurra remains in memory, despite colonial actions enforcing a physical alienation from this place. Exile and physical estrangement from homelands are too familiar in colonial settings. Despite this, the cultural engagements and emotional geographies that demarcate Yanyuwa homelands, specifically Manankurra, by way of narrative, knowledge and memory were never lost, nor disembodied from the emotional experience of homelands. They surge back to life again and again, across generations, because of triggers in individual and group remembering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-94
Number of pages18
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • place
  • emotion
  • Australia
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • memory
  • colonial history


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