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Issue Details: First known date: 2004... 2004 [Review Essay] The Artificial Horizon : Imagining the Blue Mountains
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Martin Thomas’ cultural study of the Blue Mountains is developed using a familiar technique of juxtaposition and antithesis, derived ultimately from Saussure and Lévi-Strauss. It is focused on four main topics in the history and folklore of the area: European exploration narratives and paintings; Aboriginal myths which have accrued or been invented for the place; the fascinations of its topography and cliffs and the tourism paraphernalia that surround them; and a highly discursive account of the early life and, in 1957, the death of V Gordon Childe, in his generation the pre-eminent archaeologist of Europe and the Middle East. An overarching theme is that of the mountains as the labyrinth—‘the most pervasive colonial metaphor for the topography [of the Blue Mountains]’ —threatening loss and death. The settlements perched on the narrow ridgelines express ‘the unsettled quality of settler life’ (p.81). Along the way there are some useful polemics against the environmentalist gospel of the Maxvision film The edge; against the notion of wilderness; against the small and now dispersed museum of capricious and grotesque ethnology put together in a small-time private museum (by a man named Mel Ward); or against the destruction of the small, ‘wrong side of the tracks’, predominantly Aboriginal community of Catalina, for the sake of development of a race track. (Just to give a sense of the flavour of the writing, the last is titled ‘Homage to Catalina’, with its implied reference to Orwell, and to lost causes.)'  (Introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Australian Aboriginal Studies no. 1 2004 Z1146635 2004 periodical issue

    'The first group of major articles in this issue of Australian Aboriginal Studies deals primarily with matters relating to historical and archaeological heritage in northern and western Australia, ranging from the Torres Strait, through Arnhem Land and the Kimberley to the coastal Pilbara. Individually and collectively, they describe places of significance to groups of Indigenous Australians.'  (Editorial introduction)

    pg. 113-115
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