2022 - Winner
The Winter Road takes the horrific murder of Glen Turner, a compliance officer with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, by landowner Ian Turnbull in July 2014 as the starting point to examine larger questions about Australia’s relationship with the land. It grapples with difficult social, cultural and economic questions, including the legacy of colonial attitudes to landscapes as property that can be changed and owned.
In Kate Holden’s hands, this is more than the story of a murder on a lonely country road, more than a hostile relationship with a government agency that led to a brutal response. It examines the violence at the heart of European colonisation, and at the same time raises critical questions about how we respond to the environmental crisis of collapsing ecosystems and the loss of plants and animals.
Beautifully written and meticulously researched, this book draws on archival sources to show the reader the importance of history and utilising environmental, art and cultural knowledge to explore what it means. The Winter Road is a haunting reflection on colonial history; it is a work of Winungadhuriniya, of dadirri, the deepest listening and reflection.