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“Space without people”

Austro-German Filmmaker, Bestselling Author and Journalist Colin Ross Discovers Australia

Siegfried Mattl

In 1929 prominent Austro-German filmmaker and author Colin Ross visited Australia with his family for several months. In his literary and cinematic work on Australia Ross establishes a perplexing argument: Australia’s “nordic myth” (the White Australia policy) exposes the continent to the peril of an Asian invasion. In accordance with concepts of cultural hegemony within the framework of the so-called German liberal imperialism and driven by Germany’s ambition to reestablish a presence in its former colonial realm, he advocates for the forced immigration of South European laborers to the continent to populate the vast “empty space” of Australia and guard against the menacing consequences of a British-Japanese pact. This article discusses the visual and literary strategies employed by Ross to popularize geo-political thinking in Germany, thereby inducing a shift in the travelogue genre from appealing to “colonial desire” to promoting the politics of an emerging imperialism.

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Gender Policy in Australian Schools

A Missed Opportunity?

Deborah Hartman

This paper describes the rise of boys’ education as a substantial social and educational issue in Australia in the 1990s, mapping the changes in Australian discourses on boys’ education in this period. Ideas and authors informed by the men’s movement entered the discourses about boys’ education, contributing to a wave of teacher experimentation and new ways of thinking about gender policies in schools. The author suggests that there is currently a policy impasse, and proposes a new multi-disciplinary approach bringing together academic, practitioner, policy, and public discourses on boys’ education.

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Sustainable Forest Management

The Role of Government Agencies, NGOs, and Local Communities in Western Australia

Leonie van der Maesen and Timothy Cadman

This article details the engagement by the Department of Physical Geography of Utrecht University in the Netherlands with rural communities and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to assist them in gaining a better understanding of the environmental impacts of the management practices of the governmental forest authorities of the state of Western Australia in pursuit of international timber exports. The study commences with a description of the unique characteristics of WA’s forest communities. It continues with an account of governmental international forest policy norms and the discourse of sustainable forest management (SFM). This is followed by a delineation of the interactions between the academic community and civil society in their engagement with governmental departments in arguing the case for conservation. The final section makes some concluding observations on the lessons that can be learned from the failure of the state government to ensure the sustainable management of the forests of Western Australia.

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An Ordinary Place

Aboriginality and 'Ordinary' Australia in Travel Writing of the 1990s

Robert Clarke

Recent Australian travel narratives are distinguished by the way they represent Indigenous Australian cultures. Moreover, the experience of white Australian culture in recent travel writing by visiting authors like Bill Bryson (In a Sunburned Country/Down Under, 2000), Annie Caulfield (The Winners' Enclosure, 1999), and Mark McCrum (No Worries, 1997) is influenced by the authors' experiences of Aboriginality and Australia's heritage of colonialism and race relations. Following a trend in contemporary travel writing to explore ordinary life, the works of Bryson, Caulfield and McCrum seek 'ordinary Australia' and discover, through encounters with Aboriginality, a place and culture far removed from either the stereotypes of tourist brochures, or the quirky characters that inhabit the soap operas and films that have advertised Australia to the rest of the world.

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Hannah Swee

In Far North Queensland, a region in the northeast of Australia, cyclones are an annual risk. As a result of this frequency of cyclonic activity, different forms of cyclone knowledge exist ranging from disaster management information to local conceptualizations. For the people that inhabit this region, cyclones are a lived reality that are known in different, seemingly contradictory ways. Drawing on fifteen months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Far North Queensland from 2012 to 2015, this article explores how local cyclone knowledge is assembled from a variety of heterogeneous factors that change and fluctuate through time, and are subject to an ongoing process of evaluation.

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Ambivalent Mobilities in the Pacific

“Savagery” and “Civilization” in the Australian Interwar Imaginary

Nicholas Halter

Australian travel writing of the interwar period expanded with the growth of tourism in the Pacific Islands and the development of publishing and literacy at home. This article focuses on how the Australian middlebrow imagination was shaped by the diverse travel accounts of Australian tourists, adventurers, executives, scientists, officials, and missionaries writing at this time. Many of their texts borrowed and blended multiple discourses, simultaneously promoting the islands as educational and exotic, and appealing to an Australian middlebrow readership. In this article I argue that not only was travel writing middlebrow in its content and style, but the islands themselves were a particularly middlebrow setting. This is evident in representations of the islander “savage” in the region of Melanesia, a prevalent theme in Australian travelogues. I argue that this middlebrow literature was characterized by ambivalent and often contradictory ideas about the civilized “self” and the savage “other.”

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History from Down Under

E. P. Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class and Australia

Ann Curthoys

E. P. Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class was influential in Australia as it was throughout the Anglophone world. The focus of interest changed over time, starting with the fate of those of The Making's radical protesters who were transported to the Australian colonies, and then focusing on questions of class formation and the relationship between agency and structure. The peak of influence was in the 1980s, especially in the rising field of social history, and a little later in the burgeoning field of cultural history. Yet The Making's own limitations on questions of gender, race, and colonialism meant that feminist and indigenous histories, which were transforming the discipline, engaged with it only indirectly. In recent years, as the turn to transnational, imperial, and Indigenous histories has taken hold, Thompson's influence has somewhat declined.

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My Words, My Literacy

Tracking of and Teaching through the On-Field Language Practices of Australian Indigenous Boys

David Caldwell, Nayia Cominos and Katie Gloede

This article addresses the lack of research into boys’ on-field language practices in sport and the potential to integrate this as text into the multiliteracy classroom. We recount the findings of a small-scale pilot project—“Real Language in Real Time”—which applied innovative audiodigital recording technology to the context of Indigenous Australian boys participating in Australian rules football. We review the relevant literature across a range of intersecting areas: boys and literacy in relation to construal of masculinity, Aboriginal boys and sport, Aboriginal literacy more generally, and sociometrics. The next sections describe the research question, project context, the innovative technology used to collect the on-field data in real time, and the principles informing the analysis, with examples from one of the literacy resources developed. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of this novel study, with specific reference to the project’s potential construal of a homogenous masculine discourse.

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Worldly Tastes

Mobility and the Geographical Imaginaries of Interwar Australian Magazines

Victoria Kuttainen and Susann Liebich

In the interwar period, increasingly mobile Australians began to contemplate travel across the Pacific, both toward Asia as well as to America. Contemporary writing reflected this highly mobile culture and Pacific gaze, yet literary histories have overlooked this aspect of cultural history. Instead of looking to Australian novels as indexes of culture, as literary studies often do, this article explores the range of writing and print culture in magazines, concentrating on notions of mobility through the Pacific. Its focus is on the quality magazines MAN and The Home, which addressed two distinct, gendered readerships, but operated within similar cultural segments. This article suggests that the distinct geographical imaginaries of these magazines, which linked travel and geographical mobility with aspiration and social mobility, played a role in consolidating and nourishing the class standing of their readers, and revealed some of their attitudes toward gender and race.

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Memory, History, and Ego-Histoire

Narrating and Re-enacting the Australian Freedom Ride

Ann Curthoys

This article explores the intersections between history, memoir, and collective memory. It re ects on my experience of writing, as both historian and former participant, about the 1965 Australian Freedom Ride, which protested racial discrimination against Aboriginal people. It also traces the ways in which memory of and discourse about that event has changed over time: how it was and is remembered and understood, and the di erent uses made of the event by Aboriginal people, educators, and historians.