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‘Gracey’s my sister. I like her. She’s not like the rest of the girls in town.

She
doesn’t chase after all the boys and play that game like. She could catch them all
right, don’t you worry. Gracey’s the fastest girl across the ground you’ve ever seen.’
(p.1)

‘You gotta watch out for the Moodagudda. He lives in the river. He’s a bad spirit.’
(p.2)

‘Oh, you don’t see him. No, you feel him all around. He creeps up to you, surrounds
you. He confuses you, so you cant think, he makes you afraid, more scared than you
ever been.’ (p.3)

‘We said, how we s’posed to know about the Aborigines? We didn’t know what he
was talking about. This town has always been here. Same with the whites, same with
the blacks.’ (p.5)

‘You hear lots of stories at school and you’re not s’posed to believe they’re true. But
the Moodagudda’s real. I know. I’ve seen him. That’s one of the things I got to tell
you about.’ (p.6)

‘My name’s Dougy. I’m nobody much.’ (p.7)

‘She’s like a beautiful young horse, a black horse, trotting and galloping, enjoying
how fast she can go.’ (p.9)

‘People in our town were happy about it too, at first anyway … They get a bit excited
about things like that in our town.’ (p.11)

‘I remember how happy Gracey was that afternoon, but it didn’t last long. When they
got off that bus, every one of those kids was celebrating, white kids, black kids, it
didn’t matter, but the next morning all the fun was washed out of the white kids. It
just didn’t make sense that it all changed so quickly, over just one night.’ (p.16)

‘I didn’t think I could have made up the words even for Gracey to understand what I’d
seen, so the picture stays in my head now, just for me. And sometimes I think maybe
there are hundreds of other fantastic things in the rest of the world that I’ll never know
about.’ (p.20)

‘But there was something strange about these crowds of people, something different
from the picture I had expected to see and it took a few minutes to work out what it
was. Then I realised. Mum and Raymond and Gracey and me were the only blacks in
the whole street. Everybody else I saw was white.’ (p.21)

‘I didn’t believe him for a second. No blacks in our town were the boss of anything,
always white blokes. That’s just the way it was.’ (p.23)

‘I’m going to play on this field one day.’ (p.26)

‘I’m pretty dumb but I knew what that man was saying and it wasn’t right. Raymond
wouldn’t steal anything from Lang Park. This place was special to him. He didn’t rip

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out a single blade of grass the whole time he was kneeling there. Lang Park is like a
place in a dream for Raymond and you can’t steal a dream. It would be like stealing a
part of yourself.’ (p.27)

‘I guess I didn’t have a plan, never thought I could make one. Things were just going
to happen tome like they did to everyone else I knew.’ (p.28)

‘Poor Gracey. You’d think this would have been the end for her. How could you run
a race when everything went against you before you’d even started? Gracey didn’t
vomit again, or cry, or complain or begin shouting.’ (p.33)

‘That’s what black’s always have to put up with. Lots of noise when you win, lots of
noise when you lose. And they like to see you lose, too. Makes ‘em feel better. I
seen it plenty of times. They’re worried you might be better than them. That scares
‘em inside. They really don’t think much of you, and it’d be a terrible thing for you to
beat ‘em at something. That would make ‘em ashamed of themselves, worse than
anything. Can’t do nothing about it. It’s just the way whites are. You got to worry
‘bout yourself.’
‘It makes me angry,’ said Gracey.
‘Yes, it makes you angry. I know. But you got to make sure you’re angry with the
white blokes who treat you like that. No good being mad ‘cause you’re a black. Just
makes you hate yourself in the end. I seen that too.’ (p.40)

‘The bastards have to steal everything good, don’t they,’ she said softly. ‘They want
it all. They can’t leave the tiniest bit for any blackfellas.’ (p.43)

‘For a few weeks Gracey was the most important person in the whole town … It was
fun just walking around with her, watching the smiles and the waves and hearing the
story all over again. Gracey kept her medal in her pocket, so’s people could see it,
she said, but I caught her plenty of times taking it out of her pocket and staring at it,
tracing out the picture with her fingers.’ (p.51)

‘Best to stay with your family. Years ago they used to take the kids away from black
mothers; made sure they went to school properly. Didn’t do any good though. Just
split up families. One of the worst bloody things they ever did to us.’ (p.51)

‘It’s okay if you’re a whitefella who can’t do much. They usually find something for
you to do, some place for you. But blackfellas have to be special to get on. My
Dougy’s gonna end up like his father, most likely. I can’t think of much to do for
him. When you’re as old as he is and you still can’t read any good or work out those
sums they give you and don’t ever talk much, well, those whitefellas poke you and
prod you a bit more and then they shove you out of the way and forget about you.
You’re like a machine that don’t work no matter how much they try to fix it and then
it just gets left behind.’ (p.52 - 53)

‘You have to dye your skin black to get the boarding fees, ‘cause the Government
only gives out that sort of money to Abos.’ (p.54)

‘my mum’s pretty mad about it,’ said this girl. ‘Thinks it’s just like last a few weeks
ago. Gracey gets extra money to go to the State Championships and now she gets this

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scholarship so she can do better at school than us. Blacks get everything, whites get
nothing. She and Dad are getting fed up.’ (p. 55 – 56)

‘Hey, what about that old Moodagudda in the river. You watch out. Maybe he’ll be
the one comin’ to get you, so you don’t get away.’ (p.59)

‘Gracey, I want you to escape. I nearly got away when I was young, but this place
sucked me back. It don’t let many get away.’ (p.59)

‘I’m scared of leaving what I know, Dougy. Scared of being the only black kid with
all those whites. Scared of being different.’ (p. 60-1)

‘Just as well the Moodagudda isn’t around in the day time, ‘cause if he wanted to stop
Gracey from getting away to that school, this would be his last chance. But I was
wrong about that.’ (p.62)

‘Of course, Mr Brodie tried to stop his daughter from riding motorbikes but she
always beat him. She could persuade a young man to do anything for her.’ (p.64)

‘This scholarship of Gracey’s is the best thing, the most important thing that’s ever
happened in this town; even if half the bloody whites in this town don’t want to know
about it.’ (p.65)

‘Of course, you know what that much water north of here means. A bit of flooding,
most likely. We’d better start sandbagging as soon as possible. And that’s what most
people were doing when they found Melissa Brodie lying half-dead in the sandhills.’
(p.67)

‘There was silence then for a minute and when I look back on it now, I’m sure that up
till then no one standing in that group had thought for a second that Melissa Brodie
had been hit on the head by anyone. Up till then, it was just an accident. But after
those words, it became a crime.’ (p.69)

‘The sight and sound of these men raging around Seasame Street like a thunderstorm
was starting to bring people out of their houses to see what was happening.’ (p.74)

‘It was no use. The white men had forgotten why they had come now and the black
man had forgotten why he was holding the gun. They didn’t care about Johnny
Warren anymore.’ (p.76)

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