'Queensland-born novelist Rosa Praed's departure for London in 1876 at the age of 24 is usually regarded as a liberating move. She was exchanging life as a squatter's wife on an isolated station for the established comfort and social standing of her husband's English upper middle class family. It also opened up the prospect of finding a market for the stories that were swirling in her head. For nearly sixty years until her death in 1935 she lived in England or Europe making only one brief visit to Australia in the first months of 1895. Exile is not a concept usually associated with such a move.
'This paper [explores] indications in her writing that point to "the unhealable rift" that followed this separation from her physical and spiritual home. The most important is her constant, almost obsessive, return over a period of more than thirty-five years to the sites of her childhood and young adulthood as settings for close to twenty books. The explanation that she was exploiting a demand for colonial colour and adventure among English readers is inadequate in the face of this recurrent, compulsive dredging of memories. [This paper argues] that her frequent return to early memories of the Australian landscape, Aboriginal/white frontier wars, political events and colonial social mores indicates a loss that was never assuaged. Her memories were reinforced by material she received from her Australian relatives, often actively sought.'
Source: Landscapes of Exile conference website, http://www.scu.edu.au/research/cpsj/landscapesofexiles/abstracts1.html#PatriciaClarke Sighted: 02/04/2008