Issue Details: First known date: 2014... 2014 The Swinging Stirrup Iron : Murder Most Pastoral in Queensland Fiction
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In the brief massacre scene at the end of David Malouf’s 1993 novel Remembering Babylon an unusual weapon of frontier murder is introduced to Australian narrative prose: the swinging stirrup iron. In Alex Miller’s 2002 novel, Journey to the Stone Country, the stirrup iron returns to wreak even more murderous havoc. The stirrup iron functions here to provide a symbolic link to the particularities of violence in colonial Queensland, for it specifically connects the iconic national figure of the cattleman/drover with the killing of Aboriginal people on the frontier. This article examines these texts, and, more briefly, other representations of the Australian cattleman in contemporary Queensland fiction, against a backdrop of recent historical research that reconfigures cattle and their human managers as central to the story of frontier murder and the stealing of Aboriginal land that constituted the colonisation of large parts of Australia, especially of Queensland, in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

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Last amended 15 Feb 2016 14:08:28 The Swinging Stirrup Iron : Murder Most Pastoral in Queensland FictionAustLit Journal of the European Association for Studies of Australia
  • Queensland,
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