Explore this collection of exemplary work by students from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences undertaken in 2016. Using the new teaching teaching and learning platform built on the AustLit system, Cirrus allows teachers and students to undertake innovative assessment activities. The best outcomes will be published annually by AustLit.
Newly indexed on AustLit is the latest edition of Hecate (42.1). Carole Ferrier, in her Editorial introduction, discusses the well-researched essay “Crossing the Boundaries : The Versatility of Women in the Novels of Janette Turner Hospital” by Fiona Duthie. She states :
Hecate has from the mid-1970s published work from cross-disciplinary perspectives that contest hegemonic received ideas regarding gender, class, ethnicity and race, and sexualities, and how these things have played out at particular times in particular places. In this issue, Fiona Duthie's article discusses some female characters in Janette Turner Hospital's novels who aim at 'interesting forms of internationalism' and who challenge 'cultural and political systems that seek to enforce division,' so that they can try 'to achieve the truth and justice they so earnestly desire against the backdrop of the general bleakness.' While this could be said of many fictional female characters in much of the literature of the past decades, the reference her to 'bleakness' seems particularly apposite when 'interpreting the world' in 2016.' (4)
Of particular note in this edition is the Dymphna Cusack poem ‘We Are the Sons’ edited by Marilla North. An AustLit title search of this poem returned no results; however, a first line search of the poem revealed a perfect match. The poem ‘The Spirit of Anzac’ was published under the pseudonym ‘Atalanta’ in The Bulletin, 23 April, 1930. A fabulous discovery, indeed–as we had no record of other writing names Cusack may have used.
Bringing attention to freshly indexed publications across the fields AustLit covers. A new regular posting...
The recent issue of AnthroVision is a fascinating exploration of the relationship between texts and visuals. And it's online!
"This collection of essays and video contributions both focuses and relies on interactions between texts and images. AnthroVision – as an online journal aiming to “include audiovisual material and to promote innovative ways of writing within an academic framework” – is therefore an ideal publication avenue for this volume, which also addresses the strategies, choices, and constraints that shape research that is conducted with these two media (texts and visuals). The articles do not only unveil the “epistemological backstage” (Olivier De Sardan 1992: 185) of visual documents; they question the dialogic relationship between images and texts. Magali McDuffie, Rosita Henry and Daniela Vávrová, as well as Flora Aurima-Devatine and Estelle Castro-Koshy, for example, chose a two-tool writing process. In their articles, the film questions, completes, and gives more depth to the written text; it does not “double” it. In all the contributions, the film and/or the photographs and the text are mutually enriching. This is also the case in Barbara Glowczewski’s book, Totemic Becomings. Cosmopolitics of the Dreaming/Devires Totêmicos. Cosmopolitica do Sonho, which is reviewed by Gerko Egert: Egert stresses that the bilingual book “composed as a rich assemblage of images and text […] charts the complex cartographies of Warlpiri Dreaming cosmologies” – a mapping that Glowczewski also explicates and gives examples of in her video contribution to this issue."
It's that time of year when we look back on what has happened with AustLit in the last ten months, and what the last two months of the year will bring.
New Bibliographical Records:
As always, AustLit regularly adds to the bibliographical records that form the core of our database. New works are added to AustLit on a daily basis, and one of the great joys of working for the only database of national literature in the world is finding these new works and new authors every time we come to work.
Here are some of the statistics on new works and authors that caught our attention in the twelve months since October 2015.
Records for more than 28,000 new works that have been added to AustLit in the past year, including new records for over 12,000 new works with a 2016 publication date. Australians: they know how to write.
AustLit doesn't just index current works: we're regularly adding new records for old periodicals and newspapers. For example, did you know that we added 60 works published in 1905 in the last twelve months? Not to mention 80 works from 1891.
In terms of genre, here's a breakdown of some of the new works added in the last twelve months:
Scholarly bibliography: the most exciting job out there!
Both of these projects are very exciting to AustLit staff, and we are hoping they'll prove very exciting to you, as well!
Perhaps the most exciting research work of the early part of this year was AustLit's work with the Ian Potter Foundation and UQ drama students to bring back to the stage the lost work of Dorothy Blewett. AustLit's director, Kerry Kilner, wrote about the discovery and production of The First Joanna earlier in the year, when it was beautifully produced by UQ students under the aegis of director Sue Rider. Students involved in that production also produced online exhibitions about their experiences with the play, which were published on AustLit.
In second semester, student interns assisted in digitising more of Dorothy Blewett's plays and other unpublished works and produced work around teaching with AustLit, including detailed teaching notes on Australian Gothic drama. Stay tuned to see these new materials unveiled.
Exhibitions and Information Trails:
When we published our yearly round-up for 2015, we highlighted some of the fantastic new additions to the database, including Anita Heiss's BlackWords essays and a new information trail on the Stolen Generations.
BlackWords has continued to gain in strength in 2016, with a new information trail on the Gulf of Carpentaria region about to be published. This trail will highlight writings by the Garawa, Waanyi, and Anindilyakwa people and languages, among others.
In 2016, AustLit also published Diversity in Australian Speculative Fiction : A Bibliographical Exhibition. This online exhibition is a series of reading lists targeting Australian speculative-fiction works that showcase racial and ethnic diversity; physiological, neurological, or sensate diversity; sexual and gender diversity; and religious diversity. Showcasing dozens of works in categories from short stories to graphic novels, the exhibition is accompanied by a list of further reading. Both list and exhibition are regularly expanded.
Late last year, our big excitement was the new 'Follow' function. This allows you to follow an author's or organisation's AustLit record, and receive updates when a new work is added or substantial changes are made to a biography–an excellent options for fans and students alike. To follow an author or organisation, go to their AustLit page and add your email address to the 'Follow' box on the right-hand side of the record.
In June this year, we announced our new programmer, Brenden Jeon. Brenden has been busy working with our lead programmer, Jonathan Hadwen, on the development of AusArts, perhaps our most exciting new technological update of the year. AusArts is a large project that allows the AustLit content management system to be used by tertiary students. As well as allowing students to create mini web sites that they can publish and use as part of their web portfolio, AusArts also allows for online annotation of text and images. The system has been in development throughout 2016, and is generating much excitement about academics and students at UQ, its first trial site, not to mention AustLit staff.
With the Melbourne Writers Festival, the Queensland Poetry Festival, and the Brisbane Writers Festival just behind us, and a staggering 5000 attendees at the inaugural Canberra Writers Festival, it's time to consider what else is out there for the discerning reader who actually likes leaving the house occasionally. By no means a comprehensive list, this is only some of the festivals awaiting you in the last quarter of the year.
29 September kicks off the National Young Writers Festival. This is always one of the liveliest festivals on the calendar, and they're not kidding when they call it the future of Australian fiction.
30 September is the first day of Conflux, the speculative fiction gathering, with guest of honour Alan Baxter and some seriously shiny workshops and presentations. (We know you got the joke, Firefly fans.)
26 October sees the start of Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, a Southeast Asian festival that draws writers from across the region.
1 to 11 November is a festival for all those readers who don't necessarily want to leave the house: the Digital Writers Festival. An innovative sequence of online-first content, the Digital Writers Festival is in its second year this year.
18 to 20 November offers you Queermance, a celebration of queer romance in fiction. For authors and publishers of GLBT fiction, this is your place to be.
18-19 November also offers you a short convention with Sisters in Crime: SheKilda 3 packs more than 40 authors into less than two days.
And if you're outside the urban centres, check out the following regional and rural festivals:
Image credit: The Bibliomaniac, from 'Navis Stultifera' (The Ship of Fools) (1497). From Sebastian Brandt, A Brief History of Wood-engraving from its Invention, Joseph Cundall, 1895 (via Wikimedia Commons).
With the Australian Paralympics team having just walked the stadium in Rio for the opening ceremony, let's look at some of the Australian athletes who have told their own stories of competition in the Paralympic Games.
(Image source: Basketball at the 1964 Paralympics.)
Sam Bramham is known as much for his larrikin attitude as for his athletic prowess–although a few among us will definitely shudder at the anecdote about the shark-attack prank.
Irene Howe, BlackWords researcher
A songline or storyline is the path or corridor along which a creator ancestor moved to bring country into being. It is also the way of the ancestor’s totem, the geographical expression of the songs, dances and paintings animating its country, and ecological proof of unity of things.
This year, the 2016 National NAIDOC week’s theme was Songlines. Songlines or Dreaming paths are embedded in the traditional Aboriginal cultural belief system. They are the Creation or Dreaming story lines that criss-cross the Australian continent, which put into place all geographical and sacred sites in Aboriginal culture. Songs are related to Country, Dreaming beings, and the collective memory about places, kinship and for those who told the stories associated with them. Songs carry power and force, and can activate connections of people to both human and spiritual ancestors. John Bradley (2010:242) said, 'For Yanyuwa people their country is …a soundscape vibrating with thousands upon thousands of syllables; song is the force that brings country into being'.
In the Dreaming the land and its people are connected, and the legacy of the Dreaming Ancestors is in the landscape, and their marks are the sacred sites. The sacred sites had been left behind by Ancestral beings who travelled across the country and are recognised by Aboriginal people in form of mountains, waterholes, plant formations and other environmental and geographical phenomena (see Clarke, 2003:18). These places are tangible evidence of the Dreaming and provide living people with their identity and connections to the Dreaming.
Aboriginal stories and songlines are integral to the well-being of Country and the well-being of Aboriginal communities. The songlines and stories below have travelled over landscapes signifying places, and formed part of the Dreaming tracks of the ancestral beings. They embody real geographical features and reference points for Aboriginal peoples having both mythological and practical significance.
Gammage, Bill. The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines made Australia. Crows Nest, N.S.W. Allen & Unwin, 2011.
Bradley, John. Singing Saltwater Country: Journey to the Songlines of Carpentaria. Allen & Unwin, 2010.
Clarke, Philip A. Where the Ancestors Walked: Australia as an Aboriginal Landscape. Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, N.S.W, 2003.
Hall, Phillip. 'Phillip Hall reviews George Dyungayan’s Bulu Line: A West Kimberley Song Cycle by Stuart Cooke and Eelahroo (Long Ago) Nyah (Looking) Mobo-Mobo (Future) by Lionel Fogarty.' Plumwood Mountain, 3:1 (2016).
Singing Saltwater country: Journey to the Songlines of Carpentaria, written by John Bradley, exemplifies his account of living with the Yanyuwa people of the Gulf of Carpentaria and how the elders revealed to him the ancient songlines of the Dreaming, and their Country. These Dreaming stories from the Yanyuwa can be accessed through the BlackWords record The Dreamings from the Saltwater Country.
In Antarrengeny Awely: Alyawarr Women’s Songs from Antarrengeny, senior Antarrengeny custodians explain the meanings and significance of their songs that tell the stories of both every day and important events, and the travels of ancestral women across Antarrengeny Country.
Children can also learn from songlines; for example, Ninu Last Journey is a story from the Gibson Desert and told by community members of Tjirrkarli. They tell of how the land and water was created in the desert land.
Many songlines both traditional and contemporary have been translated as song-poems, or as verse-in-translation. One in particular was George Dyunjgayan’s Bulu Line: A West Kimberley Song Cycle. This 'unrestricted song cycle from the Bulu Line is a collection of 17 songs, received by George Dyungayan in a dream from his father (the late Bulu) before being passed onto Paddy Roe' (Phillip Hall, 2016).
Another work, Dyirbal Song Poetry: The Oral Literature of an Australian Rainforest People, is a collection, sung by nineteen Dyirbal singers, that explores the poetic tradition of a culture which flourished in Australia prior to European impact. This songs come from the Cairns rainforest region in North Queensland.
Concert Poster From Fullers' Theatres.
Portrait of Nat Phillips (Fryer Library).
Portrait of Roy Rene, Theatre Magazine Apr. 1915, 35.
Sheet music (National Library of Australia).
Roy Rene (left) and Nat Phillips (right), via the Fryer Library.
Via the Fryer Library.
Via the Fryer Library.
Via the Fryer Library.
Via the Fryer Library.
Musical support for both Nat Phillips' Stiffy & Mo Company and Nat
Phillips' Whirligigs during the mid-to-late 1920s. (Via the Fryer Library.)
With Nat Phillips. (Via Fryer Library.)
Via Fryer Library.
Courtesy of Jon Fabian.
Roy Rene, Daisy Merritt, Nat Phillips.
Theatre Magazine, Jan. 1919, p.7. (Reproduced with the kind assistance of the State Library of NSW).
On 8 July one hundred years ago, 31-year-old entertainer/producer Nat Phillips (1883-1932), a veteran of Australian and international variety theatre, stepped onto the stage of Sydney's Princess Theatre with 25-year-old comedian Roy Rene (1891-1954). This was the first time the pair had performed together publically. It was also the first time that Rene had appeared as the character that would become his trademark – Mo. That night, as 'Stiffy and Mo', Phillips and Rene featured in a one-act musical comedy (or revusical) called What Oh Tonight. By the time they ended their partnership 12 years later, they had forever established themselves as one of Australia's greatest-ever comedy duos.
The Stiffy and Mo revusicals, comprising more than 30 individual shows, were all written and directed by Nat Phillips. Many were titled according to the situations the pair found themselves in. Over the years, they appeared as plumbers, shopwalkers, wharfies, confidence men, surfers, dustmen, orderlies, bankers, bell boys, waiters, jockeys, soldiers and even bullfighters. Other popular productions were located in a harem, beauty parlour, and a sanatorium. Stiffy and Mo also featured in a number of pantomime extravaganzas staged by Fullers Theatres during the late 1910s and early 1920s, beginning with The Bunyip (1916).
The outrageous situations Stiffy and Mo found themselves in were not the only reasons for their popularity. They also exemplified the national identity and popular-culture attitudes then being circulated by Australians – including those serving overseas with the Australian Imperial Forces. The surviving Stiffy and Mo scripts held in the Fryer Library's Nat Phillips Collection (The University of Queensland) are clearly based on ideals such as mateship, loyalty, egalitarianism, larrikinism, practical joking, self-deprecation, and an outright refusal to bow to authority figures.
Phillips and Rene toured their alter-egos relentlessly around Australia and New Zealand until late 1928, taking only an 18-month break in the mid-1920s. When they reunited in early 1927 Just It magazine suggested that the event almost overshadowed the Duke and Duchess of York's royal visit. Even the more reserved Bulletin had to acknowledge the public fervour:
The return of Stiffy and Mo to Fullers' Theatre on Saturday night was hailed with wild acclaim. There were yells to greet the appearance of each of the re-united partners and the roof cracked when Mo addressed the audience as "Yous mob," or made a reference to the "tarts" present. The audience was so delighted at renewing acquaintance with its old favourites that it laughed at everything. It is a triumph of an extraordinary kind (Bulletin 24 March 1927, 34).
The influence of Nat Phillips and Roy Rene on the Australian variety industry and the development of an Australia comedic tradition cannot be over-estimated. They not only played a significant role in developing and popularising the revusical genre in this country but also established a precedent in comedy partnerships by doing away with the comic/straightman format. Their legacy can also be seen in a line of comedians to follow them, beginning with George Wallace and Jim Gerald, through to television era with partnerships like Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton, Hoges and Strop, and beyond.
If you'd like find out more about Stiffy and Mo, as well as people associated with either their company or the careers of Nat Phillips and Roy Rene, click on some of the links below.
You can also learn how new research into the Stiffy and Mo legend has overturned a number of long-standing myths and historical errors relating to the partnership.
For more information on the theatre of Stiffy and Mo, read the Fryer Library blog post.
Or you can read more via these AustLit records:
Firstly, we need to welcome Brenden Jeon, our new web developer, to the team. Brenden, now a Brisbanite, comes to us via Seoul, South Korea. He will be working on several projects described below, including the Australian Newspapers poetry project, as well as contributing to the development of AusArts. Welcome Brenden!
The AustLit development team is in the midst of a large project that allows the AustLit content management system to be used by tertiary students. This system is called AusArts. As well as allowing students to create mini web sites that they can publish and use as part of their web portfolio, it also allows for online annotation of text and images. Classes involved in the preliminary run of this system have used it to facilitate discussion and critique around creative writing pieces and create exhibitions about Dorothy Blewett's play The First Joanna, and next semester art history courses will use it to allow the informed annotation of various art works.
Poetry from Australian Newspapers
Brenden will also be taking over the development of the Australian newspapers poetry project from Kent Fitch. The project looks to automatically harvest poetry from the NLA's online historical newspaper collection, and add new records to the AustLit database where appropriate. Both developers have been looking at various ways to automatically identify a poem on a page using methods as diverse as checking for the presence of staggered line indentation, rhyming dictionaries, and Bayesian analysis.