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Writing the Nation: Australian Literature to 1950 (L-LCS12)


y separately published work icon Jonah Louis Stone , London : Methuen , 1911 Z823874 1911 single work novel (taught in 1 units)

'Jonah, born a hunchback, is feared and revered in equal measure as the ruthless leader of the Push, a violent gang that terrorises the slums of Waterloo. Chook, a fellow member of the Push, is Jonah's loyal best friend. But after a chance encounter with his son, the result of a casual affair, Jonah decides to abandon the larrikin life and settle down. He marries Ada, the mother of his child, and takes advantage of an opportunity to open his own business. Chook, too, leaves the Push and finds love in the arms of factory worker, Pinkey. But can either man escape his awful past?'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Text Publishing edition).

y separately published work icon My Brilliant Career Miles Franklin , Edinburgh London : William Blackwood , 1901 Z161522 1901 single work novel (taught in 56 units)

'My Brilliant Career was written by Stella Franklin (1879-1954) when she was just nineteen years old. The novel struggled to find an Australian publisher, but was published in London and Edinburgh in 1901 after receiving an endorsement from Henry Lawson. Although Franklin wrote under the pseudonym 'Miles Franklin', Lawson’s preface makes it clear that Franklin is, as Lawson puts it 'a girl.'

'The novel relates the story of Sybylla Melvyn, a strong-willed young woman of the 1890s growing up in the Goulburn area of New South Wales and longing to be a writer.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon The Battlers Kylie Tennant , London : Gollancz , 1941 Z250421 1941 single work novel (taught in 1 units)

'The flowers flared up from the ground unconquerable. The unrepentant gaiety of the weed, the burning blues and crimsons, set the hills glowing.

''It's a plant that's struck it lucky,' the Stray said thoughtfully. 'It hasn't got no right, but it's there.'

'The Battlers is the story of Snow, a drifter and wanderer, the waiflike Dancy the Stray, from the slums of Sydney, and the other outcasts who accompany them as they travel the country roads looking for work. Like the weed Patterson's Curse, they 'haven't got no right', but they are there. Based on her own experiences of life on the roads in the 1930s, Tennant tells the story of the motley crowd of travellers with compassion and humour. First published in 1941, The Battlers was awarded the Gold Medal of the Australian Literature Society and shared the S. H. Prior Memorial Prize. More than seventy years later, the book's message of survival against the odds is as relevant today as it was then. ' (Publication summary)


Understand development of the key elements of Australian cultural identity as expressed through literature up to 1950. By studying a range of poems, songs, journals, letters, short stories and novels, you will investigate what this literature reveals about the values and attitudes of the time and how these are different today. The unit considers how literary works may construct and perpetuate stereotypes of gender, race, class and nationality. You will gain knowledge of Australian cultural identity as expressed through literature and learn what literature reveals about past and present values and attitudes.


Assignment 1 (30%)

Assignment 2 (30%)

Assignment 3 (40%)

Other Details

Offered on Open University website through Curtin University. Refer to this unit oultline for more information:

Levels: Undergraduate