When writing the "big picture" histories, historians often overlook or exaggerate certain aspects of Australian history to make their point. Discuss with reference to one the recommended texts. The book "The Australian Legend", written by Russell Ward and published in 1958 speaks mainly of "Australian Identity". It looks at nationalism and what has formed our self-image. There are many aspects that are left overlooked however, as the Authour makes his assumptions. Significant parts of society are neglected consideration, these include those that weren't from the bush, non-British immigrants, the Aboriginal people and women. Also the use of romanticised and exaggerated evidence causes an imbalance in his conclusions. Ward's main reason for writing "The Australian Legend" was to portray the typical Australian's perception of himself. He admitted that the book was not intended to be a history of Australia, and it wasn't. What the narrative does do however, is trace and explore the source of what he referred to as the "national mystique". Ward bases his work on the opinion that the 'Australian spirit' is somehow intimately connected with the bush and that it derives rather from the common folk than from the more respectable sections of society. He treats this assumption methodically, using literary and historical evidence. The majority of the evidence, are extracts taken from the Sydney Bulletin, a paper edited by J.F Archibald. Writers included "the three greatest 'nationalist' writers of the 'nineties", as Ward called them. They were Banjo Paterson, Henry Lawson, and Joseph Furphy. Ward believed that their works were hard fact - a reflection of the emergence of a distinctively Australian way of life in the outback. This evidence however is rather selective. It appears that Ward has only chosen to include the works that support his version of the 'Australian identity', intentionally leaving out works by the aforementioned writers that gave reference to anyone not fitting his description of 'typical', ie. women, foreigners, aboriginals and city-dwellers. The Australian bush legend, Ward believed, came to its climax in the 1880s. He mentions that it was during this time that the majority of the population were native-born, white males who enjoyed the works of writers such as Paterson and Lawson. It w... ... middle of paper ... ... Although partially true in its time, the Australian bush legend fades more and more as time progresses. The Australian identity of the 1890s was not the same as it was in the 1950s, nor do we have the same self-image today, as portrayed in 'The Australian Legend'. Recent statistics show that we work longer hours and drink far less then we used to. Many more Australians go to the beach than to the bush and despite the iconic male bushman, for most men and women in Australia the beach is far more central to our identity and lives, as the majority of the population lives closer to our coastal shores. 'The Australian Legend', in itself is an acurate portrayal and recount of one part of society, from a specific era, ie. the Australian bushman of the 1890s. Its exaggerations, however, such as the romanticism of the bush ethos by Australian writers, the unbalanced use of evidence, and the neglect to acknowledge the contribution to our national identity from certain sections of society, ie. aboriginal people, city-dwellers, women, and non-British immigrants, render this book to be flawed. For these reasons, it cannot be regarded as a complete and balanced account of Australian history.
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In Reading Tim Wintons hopeful saga, Cloudstreet, you are immersed in Australia; it is an important story in showing the change in values that urbanisation brought to Perth in the late 1950’s such as confidence and pride. But it was also a very anxious and fearful time period in terms of the Nedlands Monster and his impact in changing the current comfortable, breezy system Perth lived in. The role of women changed significantly with more women adopting more ambitious ideologies and engaging in the workforce something never seen before. But most of all it was important because it changed Australia’s priorities as a nation, it shaped the identity of individuals that we now see today, and it created a very unique Australian identity.
Maestro by Peter Goldsworthy provides an insight into 1960s/70s Australia and helps reinforce common conceptions about Australian culture. One common conception Goldsworthy reinforces in this text is Australia’s increasing acceptance of multiculturalism. Maestro, set in the 1960s to 1970s, shows Australians growing more accepting and tolerant of other cultures. This shift in perspective was occurring near the end of the White Australia/Assimilation Policy, which was phased out in the late 1970s/early 1980s. An example of this shifted perspective in Maestro is Paul’s father’s opinion about living in Darwin:
Many events during Charles Perkins life contributed to his values and beliefs encouraging him to embark on the fight for Aboriginal rights and thus helping to shape Australian society. Growing up he suffered racial vilification and was treated as a second-class citizen. Charles show...
Australia Day, celebrated on the 26th of January every year, is a nationally recognised day that signifies the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet. It’s a historic event that also marks the beginning of the oppression of the Indigenous people, that still can occur today, no matter how much the Government has tried to atone for the sins of the past. Australia Day is a day of celebration and mourning, a fact that contributes to the constant bickering between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous. There are many who believe that the meaning behind the modern Australia Day is overshadowed by the past, which will prevent the nation from moving forward, much like Ben Roberts-Smith who published an opinion piece in the Herald Sun on the 26th
Peter Weir’s 1981 film Gallipoli can in every sense of the phrase be called an ‘Australian classic’. The impact and effect this film has had upon the psyche and perspective of several generations of Australians has been significant. Whilst it can be argued that every Australian is aware of the ANZAC legend, and the events that occurred on the Turkish beaches in 1915, Weir’s film encapsulates and embodies a cultural myth which is now propagated as fact and embraced as part of the contemporary Australian identity. The film projects a sense of Australian nationalism that grew out of the 1970’s, and focuses on what it ‘means’ to be an Australian in a post-colonial country. In this way Gallipoli embodies a sense of ‘Australian-ness’ through the depiction of mateship and through the stark contrast of Australia to Britain. A sense of the mythic Australia is further projected through the cinematic portrayal of the outback, and the way in which Australia is presented in isolation from the rest of the world. These features combined create not only a sense of nationalism, but also a mythology stemming from the ANZAC legend as depicted within the film.
Reynolds, H. (1990). With The White People: The crucial role of Aborigines in the exploration and development of Australia. Australia: Penguin Books
Still even more evidence of these mixed feelings is illustrated in the third stanza. "This love dance, a kind of blood rite between father and son, shows suppressed terror combined with awe-inspired dependency" (Balakian 62). "The hand that held my wrist/was battered on one knuckle;/ At every step you missed/ My right ear scraped a buckle"(Roethke 668). The speaker's father's hand being "battered on one knuckle" is indicative of a man who...
Aboriginal protest served as the motivation for vast ambiguity about the 'Australian achievement', the reason for the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) became on the “traditional axis of Anglo-Australian” competition. McKenna offers a beneficial narrative of the failure up till now of the republic and reconciliation movements.
In many instances, life in the outback is described in detail as a hostile exposition to harsh elements and isolation from civilization. This archetype has been influenced and imposed by the imperial perspective that has come with being a British colony. Conway set out to address this issue of perspective and rewrites Australian history so others like her could identify with it. She uses an important seven pages describing the “tapestry of delicate life” that “hugs the earth firmly” (3). The detail in explaining the physicality of the “waxy succulents…spreading like splashes of paint”, recreates a landscape from new eyes (3). The eyes of an Australian who lived and prospered off of this area; who understood that this particular landscape was monumental in defining who she was. Throughout the novel the landscape is described in so many ways that it becomes an influential character helping to define Conway. Even in the end of the novel Conway is found to be describing her landscape as “brilliant in color [sic]”, “majestic in its scale” and covered in “shimmering light” (198). She finds it imperative to rewrite this piece of geographical history to show evidence of a completely different world seen through her. She reveals the landscape that the aboriginals experienced by page 6 when she describes the uniqueness of the kookaburra with its “ribald laughter” (6). She concludes that “it is hard to imagine the kookaburra feeding St. Jerome… [he] belongs to a physical and spiritual landscape which is outside the imagination of the Christian West” (6). This serves as the first of many separations between the British colonial experience and the true Australian experience. On the other hand, it is still important for Conway to describe the isolated feeling of living on Coorain, because the isolation is what defines women in many
Australian indigenous culture is the world’s oldest surviving culture, dating back sixty-thousand years. Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders have been represented in a myriad of ways through various channels such as poetry, articles, and images, in both fiction and non-fiction. Over the years, they have been portrayed as inferior, oppressed, isolated, principled and admirable. Three such texts that portray them in these ways are poems Circles and Squares and Grade One Primary by Ali Cobby Eckermann, James Packer slams booing; joins three cheers for footballer and the accompanying visual text and Heywire article Family is the most important thing to an islander by Richard Barba. Even though the texts are different as ….. is/are …., while
Moreover, then the very thought of a non-Australian fitting that description was then viewed as being very unthinkable in terms of the Australian identity. Secondly, the identity and nationalism idea that Banjo Paterson wanted, was used to create one idea that could be known under the nationalism banner in literature. However, on the other hand, according to R.Ward (1958), argued that the characteristic of the typical Australian society had been forged from the nineteenth century frontier which involved the wars such as the Gallipoli landing that had occurred, which the idea of mateship was first used by Paterson to connect the soldiers together as comrades (1958). Furthermore, R. Ward (1958) also then had argued that the legend of the bush had also been shaped by the many debates that had been happening in other countries such as Europe.(1958). It the idea of mateship that Australia had been shaped by the cultural disposition that had occurred within the nationalism of the country’s history itself.