Analyses the circumstances in which predominantly European children have been 'lost' in the Australian environment. Pierce examines the incidence of lost children in the latter half of the 19th century through depictions in Australian fiction, colonial newspapers and art works, noting in particular the role of Aboriginal trackers in these events. In addressing the 20th century, Pierce incorporates the ideas of abandonment and crimes against children along with the continuing themes of loss and recovery. For this latter period he utilises film and theatre depictions in addition to fiction and factual accounts. Underlying the entire work is the sense that the lost child symbolises the "essential if never fully resolved anxieties within the white settler communities" of Australia.
'This article argues that the sexualisation of childhood discourses have a distinct history in Australia. To advance this argument, I will explore the similarities between these discourses and discourses surrounding the iconic Australian “lost child”. In all of these discourses, a white child (here a symbol of White Australia’s future and past) becomes lost in an unforgiving and dangerous environment. This child is assumed to be asexual, though with the likelihood that they will mature into reproductive heterosexuality. This latter point will be illuminated in the final section of the article, which will focus specifically on the 2016 criticisms of the Safe Schools Coalition Australia. These criticisms are the most recent examples of anti-sexualisation discourses in Australia.' (Publication abstract)