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Too Much Cabbage and Jesus Christ

Australia's 'Mission Girl' Annie Lock

Catherine Bishop

Too Much Cabbage and Jesus Christ
Who was responsible for the 1928 Coniston Massacre in Central Australia where a police party killed 100 Aboriginal people? Not those who pulled the trigger, according to the Enquiry. Instead it was 'a woman missionary living amongst naked blacks'. This was Annie Lock, the 'whistle-blower' who caused the Enquiry.

She believed Aboriginal lives mattered, with controversial results. This biography dives into massacres, stolen generations and the thorny problem of Aboriginal missions.

A faith missionary, Annie Lock fought with Daisy Bates, met the Duke of Gloucester and inspired R.M. Williams. She was shipwrecked in a pearling lugger, drove a buggy 200 miles across desert to escape drought, produced Christmas puddings in 40-degree heat, nursed sore-ridden children, hit headlines for supposedly being 'Happy to Marry a Black', and pronounced on Aboriginal culture and policy with erratic spelling but genuine conviction.

More problematically, she 'saved' souls, 'rescued' children, eroded culture and condoned Aboriginal men beating their wives.

A strident and divisive figure, Annie Lock was appealingly eccentric but horrifyingly complicit in Australia's worst policies. Indigenous people variously called her 'lovely' and the provider of 'too much cabbage and Jesus Christ'.

Praise for Too Much Cabbage and Jesus Christ

'A terrific book - lively, informative, engaging. Strikes the right note of uncertainty about how we should now feel about humanitarianism such as Lock's.' - Tim Rowse, Professor Emeritus

'For too long Annie Lock has been a mere footnote in Australian history. We should all be grateful to Cath Bishop, her nuanced research and beautiful prose reveals not only Annie but her many proteges, friends, and subjects. This book deserves a wide audience.' - Prof Lynette Russell AM (Monash University), ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellow 2020-2025

'A poignant story, told with sensitivity and finesse. Cath Bishop has a gift for illuminating big issues with compelling narratives. In this biography of the missionary, Annie Lock, she simultaneously recounts an eccentric life and probes the clash of cultures that underlies modern Australia. Lively storytelling, astute characterisation and incisive analysis combine in this retrieval of the career of a fiercely independent woman and her relationships with the Aboriginal people whose nurturing she pursued as her God-given duty. Subtle yet powerful, this is historical biography at its best.' - Russell McGregor

Catherine Bishop, an award-winning historian, lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney with her partner and a decorative cat. When not writing, she can be found in the garden, where the weeds grow faster than words on the page. Too Much Cabbage and Jesus Christ is her fourth book and first biography.
Format Paperback
Size 234 x 156 mm
ISBN 9781743058572
Extent 372 pages
Price: AU$39.95 including GST
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