Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Diesel And DustReleased: 1988Charted:
This is a political song about giving native Australian lands back to the the Pintupi, who were among the very last people to come in from the desert. These 'last contact' people began moving from the Gibson Desert to settlements and missions in the 1930s. More were forcibly moved during the 1950's and 1960's to the Papunya settlement. In 1981 they left to return to their own country and established the Kintore community which is nestled in the picturesque Kintore Ranges, surrounded by Mulga and Spinifex country. It is now a thriving little community with a population of about 400.
Regarding the line, "From Kintore East to Yuendemu," Yuendemu is an aboriginal community in Central Australia, 250 Kilometers northwest of Alice Springs.
Midnight Oil performed this in front of a world audience of billions, (including Prime Minister John Howard who has claimed this is his favorite Midnight Oil song) at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The whole band were dressed in black, with the words "sorry" printed conspicuously on their clothes. This was a reference to the Prime Minister's refusal to apologize, on behalf of Australia, to the Aboriginal Australians for the way they have been treated over the last 200 years.
Diesel and Dust is ranked the #1 Australian album of all time in Toby Creswell, Craig Mathieson and John O'Donnell's book, The 100 Best Australian Albums, which was published in 2010. The runner-up is AC/DC's 1980 classic record Back in Black.