Both physical and unseen borders have long been with us but for numerous reasons have not always been permanent, their locations and porosity varying over time. When I first left Australia, travelling from Sydney to Perth and on to Singapore in 1972 I crossed as many as twenty-six ancient borders within Australia. Such ancient borders are found within most nation-states.
Beyond Borders is a work of 21 short stories, as creative non-fiction. These stories conclude as we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century, a time when borders are tighter in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this work of creative non-fiction, I have recreated events, locales, and conversations from my memories of them.
Childhood and Beyond
Iniquity Shall Abound
Seventy Years On
The Bay of Debris
Unravelling Crossie’s Past
Prelude to War
We Don’t Want War
Darkest Before The Dawn
Can You Help Me?
A Sergeant’s Progress
Ancient Belonging Places
Memories of Fires Past
A Morning Bt The River
A Departure For Timor L’Este
A New Era
A Journey To Jakarta Dois
Beyond the Geomorphic
Tarzan In Tights
What others have said about this work
I came away from my reading recognising a significant tour de force. The essay collection works as a memoir, and is a valuable addition to 1960s radicals’ accounts of their lives.
It is clearly the work of a geographer mixed with anthropologist, and underscored with acute political and geopolitical awareness. And it is profoundly humane and spiritual. You are able to interact deeply with people at the point where they are dealing with the big questions/mysteries of life and death and their meanings. What links all is common humanity, and the differences are in their handling of the mysteries.
You as writer/observer demonstrate the ability to listen, observe, and seek to understand and not judge. I was moved by the book and its emotional power. And it does demonstrate that while there are political and national borders, there is much that otherwise links people, and in these linkages the opportunity to learn.
Overall Russell, a profound, worthwhile, spiritual, philosophical and wise book.
Dr Rowan Cahill
Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
University of Wollongong, NSW
I took a little while to get used to the dialogue style where it veers away from naturalistic conversation to something closer to a scripted style, but I think the device works well if the reader slightly suspends disbelief.
The piece with Jonathan Head feels less scripted than some others – maybe because the content is based on action rather than ideas.
You often use a story-ending technique where the reader is expected to draw their own conclusion. On the whole I think this worked, but occasionally you might want to make a more explicit comment to help the reader.
Such a fascinating blend drawn from your life experience! For me, the outstanding content is East Timor and the Australian material from your early years. I like the way you anchor the content in the characters (e.g. Crossie, Nyoman, Ibu). The more I think about it, the book can be seen as a kind of dialogue between Oz and SE Asia.
Dr Stuart Campbell
Emeritus Professor of Linquistics, and
formerly Pro Vice Chancellor
University of Western Sydney
Beyond Borders, is like a beautiful colourful rich tapestry. Woven by master weaver and story teller Russell Darnley weaving together his fascinating, inspiring, touching stories that carry within the core of human values, emotions, trials and tribulations.
Beyond Borders allows you to fly with Russell on his magic flying carpet taking you on a wonderful journey to countries and places he’s been to and knows. He introduces you to special people and interesting personalities. This is a journey not to be missed.
Tao de Haas
Registered Psychotherapist and