Black Diggers

Black Diggers


Tom Wright

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Bertie’s Grandad Character Analysis

An elderly Aboriginal man who has lived all his life on his family’s ancestral land in New South Wales, he encourages his grandson Bertie to remember Indigenous people’s long fight against and suffering because of white settler colonialism, and to think twice about fighting in the war on behalf of “Australia,” an abstraction created by the white people who have stolen their land. At the end of the story, after Bertie’s return home, Grandad reminisces about how beautiful his land used to be, before white settlers destroyed it for irrigation, a metaphor for Bertie’s own destruction in the war.

Bertie’s Grandad Quotes in Black Diggers

The Black Diggers quotes below are all either spoken by Bertie’s Grandad or refer to Bertie’s Grandad. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Playlab edition of Black Diggers published in 2015.
Act One Quotes

Australia. Never heard of it.

Related Characters: Bertie’s Grandad (speaker), Bertie, Bertie’s Mom
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two Quotes

You know, even when the fires had been through, the little green shoots came up everywhere. Little tiny tender shoots, up from the bones. But that’s all lost now.

Related Characters: Bertie’s Grandad (speaker), Bertie
Related Symbols: The Lock of Frank’s Hair
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
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Black Diggers PDF

Bertie’s Grandad Character Timeline in Black Diggers

The timeline below shows where the character Bertie’s Grandad appears in Black Diggers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
Bertie’s Grandad enters, and Bertie’s mom explains the situation. Grandad notes that they’ve “been fighting for country... (full context)
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
Racism Theme Icon
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon the thought the that Indigenous people are being included for the first time, but Grandad thinks that he is going to be used and his mother promises that “there’ no... (full context)
Act Two
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon
History, Memory, and the Archive Theme Icon
In the woods near the Murrumbidgee river in 1927, Bertie’s Grandad laments that the formerly beautiful land has grown covered with trenches because of irrigation. Bertie,... (full context)