'The Tasman Sea, precisely defined by oceanographers, remains inchoate as a cultural area. It has, as it were, drifted in and out of consciousness over the two and a half centuries of European presence here; and remains an almost unknown quantity to prehistory. Its peak contact period was probably the sixty odd years between the discovery of gold in Victoria and the outbreak of the Great War; when the West Coasts of both New Zealand’s main islands, and the South East Coast of Australia, were twin shores of a land that shared an economy, a politics, a literature and a popular culture: much of which is reflected in the pages of The Bulletin from 1880s until 1914. There was, too, a kind of hangover of the pre-war era and of the ANZAC experience into the 1920s; but after that the notional country sank again beneath the waves.
'This paper attempts recovery of fragments of that lost zone from a prospective standpoint: beginning the restoration of a Weltanschauung which, while often occluded, has never really gone away. It will be undertaken by focussing upon the story of the Melbourne born Lynch brothers and their cohort: Guy and Joe Lynch, George Finey, Cecil ‘Unk’ White and Noel Cook, all of whom migrated from Auckland to Sydney after World War One and worked in the 1920s as artists, caricaturists and cartoonists on various newspapers and magazines. Joe was sculpted twice in stone by elder brother Guy; as a soldier standing on a plinth in the war memorial at Devonport, Auckland; and, controversially, as a faun in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens. Joe Lynch fell, or jumped, from a ferry one night and drowned in Sydney harbour; and thereby became the inspiration for Kenneth Slessor’s great elegy, Five Bells.' (Publication abstract)
'The desire to challenge or escape colonial provincialism in search of a freer, more cosmopolitan modernity finds expression in three works of fiction by women writers that stage the drama of ferry wreck on Sydney Harbour, and that thread - as Wai Chee Dimock would say - local Australian scenes into the deeper time of world literature: Christina Stead's short story 'Day of Wrath' (1934), Eleanor Dark's novel Waterway (1938) and The Transit of Venus (1980) by Shirley Hazzard' [p. 102].