Bill Neidjie’s Story About Feeling: Notes on its Themes and Philosophy


  • Philip Morrissey University of Melbourne


The late Bill Neidjie was one of a remarkable generation of Aboriginal elders who in the late 20th century mediated Aboriginal knowledges for a wider audience. These knowledges were individual and specific, and originated in each elder’s engagement with modernity, rather than being the articulation of a primordial wisdom tradition. This article conducts a reading of some of the key themes of Story About Feeling – a collection of Neidjie’s narratives recorded in October and November 1982 by Keith Taylor and published in 1989. In these narratives Neidjie identifies a universal human subject, defines inter-species concordance, the relation between nature and culture, and the experience of the Aboriginal sacred and its effects in the everyday. Story About Feeling returns continually to the reality of djang and its corollary feeling – a modality that is always in excess of any story that attempts to represent it.