Fox Joe

Shortlisted for WA Premier’s Prize for Book of the Year 2023.

In April 1978 leaders from Aboriginal Communities across the Kimberley met in the river bed at Old Halls Creek. At least 55 representatives attended, which closed with a request to the Noonkanbah Mob to invite all the Aboriginal Communities in the Kimberley to a Cultural Festival and meeting in May 1978, at which a new organisation – The Kimberley Land Council (KLC) – would be officially formed and launched.  The KLC was formed as a political land rights organisation. Today it is the peak Indigenous body in the Kimberley region working with Aboriginal people to secure native title, conduct conservation and land management activities and develop cultural & economic business enterprises.

The Shield and the Spear is mostly told through firsthand contributions from the people who were there. The reader is taken on a journey through historic Indigenous rights battles such as the Noonkanbah blockade in 1979, the formation of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC) and the Kimberley Language Resource Centre (KLRC) in 1984; the formation of Magabala Books in 1987; and the controversial James Price Point gas hub. Plus the many commercial negotiations facilitated by the KLC.

Commissioned by the KLC, Fox uses a combination of interviews and eyewitness accounts; quotes from the KLC Newsletter; quotes taken from historic documents, speeches, recordings and meetings; and historical and contemporary photographs and illustrations. The book is roughly chronological and the reader hears unmediated accounts of what happened.

About the Author:

Joe Fox, from the South West, came to the Kimberley in 1985, first to Halls Creek as a music teacher then as co-ordinator of Ngaringga Ngurra Women’s Group, where he assisted the group in the establishment of the Yarliyil Arts Centre. He has also worked for the Kimberley Language Resource Centre. Moving to Broome in 1997, Joe worked for a number of small, community-based organisations, before joining the Kimberley Land Council in 2004, as media officer, policy adviser and later as project manager for the KLC’s new office development.


In stock


Magabala Books, September 2022.  304 pages, paperback