'In this, the first collection of ecocritical essays devoted to Australian contexts and their writers, Australian and US scholars explore the transliteration of land and sea through the works of Australian authors and through their own experiences. The littoral zone is the starting point in this fresh approach to reading literature organised around the natural environment - rainforest, desert, mountains, coast, islands, Antarctica. There's the beach, where sexual and spiritual crises occur; the Western Australian wheatbelt; deserts, camel trekking, and the transformation of a salt flat into an inland island; New Age literature that 'appropriates' Aboriginal culture as the healing poultice for an ailing West; a re-examination of pastoralism; an inquiry into whether Judith Wright's work can "persuade us to rejoice" in the world; the Limestone Plains, home of the bush capital and the bogong moth; tropical North Queensland; national parks where "the mountains meet the sea"; temperate islands, with their history of sealing, Soldier Settlement, and sea country pastoral; and Antarctica, where a utopian vision gives way to an emphasis on its 'timeless' icescape as minimalist backdrop for human dramas. The author-terrain includes poets, playwrights, novelists, and non-fiction writers across the range of contexts constituting the littoral zone of 'Australia'.'
Source: Rodopi website, http://www.rodopi.nl
The Limestone Plains is the name given by British explorers in the 1820s to the area in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, where the city of Canberra would later be built. Watered by the Molonglo, a tributary of the Murrumbidgee, and ringed by wooded hills, this area was a significant meeting place of several Aboriginal tribes, whose fire-stick farming practices had shaped its flora and fauna over the millennia. In the nineteenth century, the Canberra area provided a living for pastoralists and selectors, whose activities altered the local ecology and had a devastating impact on Indigenous people. The city that was founded on the Limestone Plains in 1913 in turn displaced this rural way of life, although remnants of pastoralism persisted beyond the urban fringe into the twenty-first century. Canberra's 'bush capital' was conceived as a city in and of the landscape, and it remains a place where town and country interpenetrate to a remarkable degree. As well as providing something of a haven for wildlife, Canberra and its surrounds have also nurtured numerous writers. In this essay, I will investigate the ways in which explorers and settlers construed the Limestone Plains as a locus of pastoral dwelling, before proceeding to consider how some more recent writers have responded to this place in literary form by attending to the more-than-human world that persists both within and beyond the city. (from The Littoral Zone)