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y separately published work icon Griffith Review periodical issue  
Alternative title: Writing the Country
Issue Details: First known date: 2019... no. 63 January 2019 of Griffith Review est. 2003- Griffith Review
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The world is full of beautiful places. Beaches and oceans, cliffs, forests, mountains and valleys, deserts, rivers, islands, harbours and bays. Places where the sky is a perfect half dome, and others where it is pinched between mountains and buildings. These beautiful places have the power to inspire and delight, to provide respite and solace. They are depicted by artists and evoked by poets, and in some cultures assume a spiritual significance beyond their physicality. We flock to them in increasing numbers, maybe sensing that they will not always be there.'  (On suicide watch? The enduring power of nature, Julianne Schultz : Introduction)

Contents

* Contents derived from the 2019 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Crossing the Line : Unknown Unknowns in a Liminal, Tropical World, Ashley Hay , single work essay

'Imagine an airplane flying north from Brisbane to Cairns. In just over two hours, it will cover nearly 1,400 kilometres of Australia's eastern coastline and add 340 kilograms of carbon dioxide to each of its passengers' personal carbon footprints.'  (Publication abstract)

 

(p. 11-28)
Lost and Found in Translation : Who Can Talk to Country?, Kim Mahood , single work essay

'Unlike many city-dwelling Australians, the desert holds no terrors for me. Instead, like DH Lawrence, I find the cathedral forests of the coastal regions oppressive and disquieting. Lawrence brought to his descriptions of the Australian bush the same overwrought sensitivity that created the claustrophobic emotional landscape of 'Sons and Lovers', and the appalling, majestic insularity of the Italian mountain village in 'The Lost Girl'. He was the writer who made explicit the sense of some non-human presence in the Antipodean landscape, and while I have a different interpretation of the 'speechless, aimless solitariness' he attributes to the country, his instincts were good.'  (Publication abstract)

 

(p. 29-46)
Boodjar Ngan Djoorla - Country, My Bones, Claire G. Coleman , single work essay

'My bones are in the soul of Country, and Country is in my bones. My veins are the creeks that flow to the sea and never quite reach it; walled off by sand, drying up in the sun. They only flow out, break the walls when the sky cries. The sky is all cried out.' (Publication abstract)

(p. 47-52)
A Fragile Civilisation : Collective Living on Australian Soil, Stephen Muecke , single work essay

'At the same time as a headline in 'The Guardian' announced: 'Indigenous Australians most ancient civilisation on Earth, DNA study confirms', we could also read that $3 billion had been left by healthcare tycoon Paul Ramsay to set up, under the direction of right-wing former prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott, a plan to install courses on 'Western civilisation' in major Australian universities. This contrast is confusing, but telling. Civilisation has nothing to do with science as such (DNA is indifferent to it), nor is it something a passing political initiative can uphold. But with a long view of Australian history, the concept of civilisation is caught precisely in this politically charged dichotomy: between an Indigenous civilisation and a recently arrived 'Western' one. It seems that the upholders of the latter would like the former to remain dubious and 'ancient', of little relevance to the future of the country. This essay is a personal reflection on the possibilities for a more reasonable hybrid definition of 'civilisation' based on Australian soil.' (Publication abstract)

 

(p. 53-60)
The Planet Is Alive: Radical Histories for Uncanny Times, Tom Griffiths , single work essay

'I want to take you on a journey from the planet to the parish, from the global to the local, from the Earth in space to the earth beneath our feet, from the lonely glowing speck of dust at the edge of the galaxy to the soil that we kneel upon and sift through our fingers and to which we ultimately return, dust to dust. These are contrasting perspectives of our home - one vertiginous, the other intimate; one from the outside in deep space and the other from the inside in deep time - on very different scales but still connected. And we have to see them as connected if we are to live respectfully and sustainably as part of nature.'' (Publication abstract)

(p. 61-72)
A Change in the Political Weather?: Forecasting the Future of Climate Policy, Paul Daley , single work prose

'In recent years, a figure has begun to emerge from the dark recesses of Australia's colonial history - one of the most progressive and courageous people from Queensland's violent pastoral and logging frontier. Danish-born Carl Feilberg was a journalist and fiction writer of elegance, an environmentalist and Indigenous rights campaigner who confronted Queensland's politicians and their vested pastoral and logging interests with ugly truths about their killing of the country and its custodians. Feilberg is colonial Queensland's most notable early non-Indigenous human rights activist, and perhaps this continent's first campaigning environmentalist; yet he has remained an obscure figure until recently because most of his advocacy appeared anonymously, without by-line, in a range of Queensland newspapers.' (Publication abstract)

 

(p. 73-87)
Geebung, near Braidwoodi"This is barefoot country", Alison Thompson , single work poetry (p. 88)
We All Took a Stand: Margaret River Versus the Coal Industry, David Ritter , single work essay

'Nobody looks very comfortable. There are four faces, angled inelegantly, only one inclined to engage with the camera, the attached bodies mostly submerged in a hot, foaming tub. There are two men and two women. The picture is from an age before digital cameras were everywhere, so the image hasn't been altered and as far as I know exists only in slowly fading semi-gloss hard copy. It is a scene more awkward than salacious: only one drink is in evidence and the expressions of the four twenty-somethings reflect self-consciousness more than any release of inhibitions. Everyone is wearing bathers and there's nothing scandalous to see here. As one of that group, I remember the night wryly.'  (Publication summary)

 

(p. 89-101)
Life and Death on Dyarubbin: Reports from the Hawkesbury River, Grace Karskens , single work essay

'On the riverbank at the old Sackville Aboriginal Reserve on Dyarubbin there-s a stone obelisk. It seems permanent and solid, but it has a habit of slipping out of landscape and memory. Erected in 1952, the obelisk was later swallowed whole by lantana, and when found again during a clean-up in the 1970s, nobody could recall anything about it. There is a sense of quiet reverence to it - this tall, solitary monument dark with age, like a gravestone. But perhaps more striking is the fantastical old fig tree nearby, its interwoven roots wrapped over a massive rectangular rock.' (Publication abstract)

 

(p. 102-106)
Rebuilding Reefs, Restoring Memory : At Work in the Waters of History, Anna Clark , single work essay

'As a historian I'm not used to this sort of archive. 

'It's a freezing spring morning in Clifton Springs, near Geelong, and I'm elbow deep in shellfish in a suburban backyard. We're measuring mussels: sixty-five millimetres long, twenty-nine millimetres wide, fifteen millimetres deep; fifty-six millimetres long, twenty millimetres wide, nine millimetres deep. On and on it goes, hundreds of times. Then we move to oysters: fifteen millimetres; fourteen millimetres, three millimetres...' (Publication abstract)

(p. 107-113)
The Butterfly Effect: Stalking a Giant in PNG, Jo Chandler , single work prose

'Sometime in 1906, butterfly hunter Albert Stewart Meek disembarks from an old pearler named 'Hekla' on the north-east coast of New Guinea. He unloads his provisions and tools of trade: killing bottles with cyanide of potassium for small insects, syringes with acetic acid for larger ones, non-rusting pins for setting his trophies, cork-lined collecting cases. He waves off the boat with instructions to the skipper to return for him in three months.' (Publication abstract)

 

(p. 114-124)
Tamby East, Jenny Sinclair , single work short story (p. 125-132)
Eating Turtle : Changing Narratives of the Normal, Suzy Freeman-Greene , single work prose

'One night late in 2017, I knelt on a coral cay on the Great Barrier Reef, watching a green turtle lay eggs. It was 2 am. The moon was high, the sea flickered silver. A few gulls and black noddies called from casuarina trees; otherwise, the beach was quiet.' (Publication abstract)

 

(p. 144-152)
Every Path Tells : Traversing the Landscape of Memory, Cassandra Pybus , single work autobiography

'When I was in my middle thirties, I abruptly abandoned a long-term relationship and impulsively moved from Sydney to Melbourne, having accepted a job as a senior policy advisor on affirmative action for which I was manifestly unfit.'  (Publication abstract)

 

(p. 153-161)
The Secret to Trouti"Sitting with empty creels", Young Dawkins , single work poetry (p. 162)
How to Draw a Tree: A Matter of Perspective, Sophie Cunningham , single work autobiography

'Depending on your definitions, this particular essay has taken three months to write and the book of essays that it's a part of has taken - again, depending on your definitions - five years. Saplings grow far more quickly than my manuscript has. The production timeline of your average physical book is easily long enough for an entire ecosystem to be destroyed. This should make me write faster, but in fact the opposite has happened.' (Publication abstract)

 

(p. 162-268)
Valuing Country : Let Me Count Three Ways, Jane Gleeson-White , single work essay

'It was reading Alexis Wright's novel 'Carpentaria' (Giramondo, 2006) in 2007 that introduced me to the idea of 'country': land as a living being with meaning, personality, will, a temper and ancient reciprocal relationships with its people governed by law. This made sense to me. I've felt the living presence of this land and I care deeply about how we treat it. I'm especially interested in how our thinking about land shapes our behaviour towards it. And I've been preoccupied by ideas of country and two new ways of conceiving it - 'natural capital' and 'rights of nature' - that seek to address the many ecological crises currently afflicting our planet.' (Publication abstract)

(p. 171-191)
Shape-shifti"In the light that steals across dead valleys like a shallow wave", Olga Pavlinova Olenich , single work poetry (p. 192)
Ghost Species and Shadow Places: Seabirds and Plastic Pollution on Lord Howe Island, Cameron Muir , single work prose

'I want to walk the shadow places. These are sites of extraction and production: think coal-seam gas fields and their attendant communities, think eroded landscapes and marine dead-zones, think sweatshops - all the places from which we extract resources, or to which we outsource disorder, risk and pollution. They provide for our material comfort, yet in the words of philosopher Val Plumwood, they are places 'we don't know about, don't want to know about, and in a commodity regime don't ever need to know about. ' Is it possible to expand our responsibilities beyond care for home and the places we love, to the degraded, broken and overlooked?'  (Publication abstract)

(p. 201-215)
The Costs of Consumption : Dispatches from a Planet in Decline, James Bradley , single work essay

'Last October, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature released the 2018 'Living Planet Report'. Published biennially since 1998, the report offers a comprehensive overview of ecosystems and biodiversity worldwide.'  (Publication abstract)

 

(p. 216-222)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 2 Apr 2019 13:54:09
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