Thomas Mayor is a Torres Strait Islander man born on
Larrakia country in Darwin. As an Islander growing up on the
mainland, he learned to hunt traditional foods with his father and
to island dance from the Darwin community of Torres Strait
Islanders. In high school, Thomas's English teacher suggested he
should become a writer. He didn't think then that he would become
one of the first ever Torres Strait Islander authors to have a book
published for the general trade. Instead, he became a wharf
labourer from the age of seventeen, until he became a union
official for the Maritime Union of Australia in his early thirties.
Quietly spoken in character, Thomas found his voice on the wharves.
As he gained the skills of negotiation and organising in the union
movement, he applied those skills to advancing the rights of
Indigenous peoples, becoming a signatory to the Uluru Statement
from the Heart and a tireless campaigner. Following the Uluru
Convention, Thomas was entrusted to carry the sacred canvas of the
Uluru Statement from the Heart. He then embarked on an
eighteen-month journey around the country to garner support for a
constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice, and a Makarrata
Commission for truth-telling and agreement-making or treaties.
Thomas's journey continues, both in person and through the pages of
this book for young Australians.
Born Adam Douglas Hill to an Aboriginal father of the Dhungutti people and an Irish-Australian mother, Blak Douglas lives and works in the Sydney suburb of Redfern. He is trained in illustration and photography, and became a self-taught painter. His artistic style is influenced by the study of graphic design and his focus on social justice. His works have appeared at the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of NSW, National Maritime Museum, National Museum of Australia, Australian Museum, Taipei Museum and the Aboriginal Art Museum in Utrecht, Netherlands. He is a successive finalist in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize and Mosman Art Prize, and an Archibald Prize finalist in 2015, 2018 and 2019. Douglas is also a classically trained didgeridoo player, and has performed nationally and internationally accompanying the likes of Christine Anu, Emma and Casey Donovan, Jessica Mauboy, Jenny Morris, Jane Rutter and Peter Sculthorpe. He has also performed at the Deadly Awards, the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony, Yabun Festival and the welcome for Nelson Mandela.