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LITERATURE OF AUSTRALIA

PAUL ROMANO B. ROYO


MAED-ENGLISH
QUICK FACTS ABOUT AUSTRALIA

 It’s the 6th biggest country in the world.


 It’s an island, surrounded by water.
 It’s the smallest continent in the world.
 It is located in the Southern Hemisphere.
 The capital city is Canberra. The biggest city is Sydney, where there is the famous Sydney Opera
House.
 Other names for Australia: Oz, Down Under
 List of countries of Australia and Oceania: Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia,
Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and
Vanuatu.
 List of dependent territories of Australia: American Samoa, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Guam,
New Caledonia, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Pitcairn Islands, Tokelau, Wake
Island, and Wallis and Futuna.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT AUSTRALIA

 Australian culture is based on history, traditions, and belief systems.


 Generally, Australians are open, friendly, and helpful. They are from a
vast array of many different countries (multicultural).
 Australian law and education systems are based on the English
model.
 Most of Australian laws are also based on common law which is
derived from common sense and precedents created from court
cases.
 There is no particular language in Australia. It is largely monolingual
with English being the national language. 80% speaks English while
20% speaks Chinese, Italian, or Greek languages.
AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 Australian Literature is the written or literary work produced by the people of the Commonwealth
of Australia & its preceding colonies. Its literary traditions begin with its linked to the broader
tradition of English Literature.
 Themes of Australian Literature:
•Aboriginality
•Mateship
•Egalitarianism
•Democracy
•National identity
•Migration
•Australian’s unique location and geography
•Beauty and terror of the Australian bush
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 Australian literature evolved with the coming of the settlers, as


the indigenous people did not have a written script or literature.
 From the journals of the settlers to the bush ballads to the
literature of national consciousness, Australian literature
developed along with the socio-political developments in the
country.
 The Aboriginals of Australia have been telling stories since time
immemorial. These songs, chants, legends and stories constituted
a rich oral literature, and since the Aboriginal tribes had no
common languages, these creations were enormously diverse.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ORAL LITERATURE


 The oral literature of Aboriginal peoples has an essentially ceremonial
function. It supports the fundamental Aboriginal beliefs that what is
given cannot be changed and that the past exists in an eternal
present, and it serves to relate the individual and the landscape to the
continuing spiritual influence of the Dreaming (or Dreamtime)—widely
known as the Alcheringa (or Altjeringa), the term used by the Aboriginal
peoples of central Australia—a mythological past in which the existing
natural environment was shaped and humanized by ancestral beings.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ORAL LITERATURE


 Narratives of the public sort range from stories told by women to young
children (mostly elementary versions of creation stories—also appropriate
for tourists and amateur anthropologists) to the recitation of song cycles in
large gatherings (known as corroborees). Even the most uncomplicated
narratives of the Dreaming introduce basic concepts about the land and
about what it is that distinguishes right behaviour from wrong.
 When children are old enough to prepare for their initiation ceremonies,
the stories become more elaborate and complex. Among the sacred
songs and stories are those that are men’s business and those that are
women’s business; each is forbidden to the eyes and ears of the other sex
and to the uninitiated.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ORAL LITERATURE


 The chief subject of Aboriginal narratives is the land. As
Aboriginal people travel from place to place, they (either
informally or ceremonially) name each place, telling of its
creation and of its relation to the journeys of the Ancestors.
 This practice serves at least three significant purposes: it
reinforces their knowledge of local geography—that is, the food
routes, location of water holes, places of safety, places of
danger, the region’s terrain, and so on—and it also serves a
social function (sometimes bringing large clans together) and a
religious or ritual function.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ORAL LITERATURE


 Above all, the oral literature of Aboriginal peoples is involved with
performance. It is not simply a verbal performance. Traditional song is very
often associated with dance, and storytelling with gesture and mime. Or
stories may be accompanied by diagrams drawn in the sand and then
brushed away again.
 Each song, each narrative, is in effect acted out. Storytellers will customarily
announce who they are, where they come from, and what their relation to
the story is, as though they are its agent. They may provide a frame for their
story. They use the common devices of oral literature such as repetition and
enumeration and formulaic expression. But they always take care with their
songs and stories; they are as careful with imagery and symbolism, with the
figures of speech, as they are with other aspects of ceremony.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

Written literature came to Australia after the


settlement of New South Wales in 1788. Many
of the officers of the first Fleet wrote about
their experiences of the process of settlement.
The early writing indicates the colonists' urgent
need to record their experience and to
respond to the swift social changes that
marked the period.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 Poetry came first in Australia and after that novel and drama
followed. The origins of written Australian poetry lay in the prison
systems.
 From 1788 until 1823 the colony of New South Wales was classified as
a penal colony consisting mainly of convicts. From 1793 free settlers
also started to arrive.
 Only those people who were educated in their mother country
(predominantly England) could read or write because there were no
formal schools in Australia. Therefore, it was difficult for early settlers to
develop literary skills. Since population was poorly educated, there
was no demand for written communication such as newspapers.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 Sharing jokes and stories was a common form of entertainment at any


place where people gathered. These stories were difficult to remember so
rhyme was introduced into it, to assist the authors to memorize them.
Consistent rhythm and meters were later on added. As a result of these
changes Australian poetry was bom.
 The earliest written poetry acted as cathartic outburst of emotions which
allowed the convicts to address those feelings that they could not openly
discuss. Through their poetry they described their pain in silence.
 The most notable of these early poets include Michale Massey Robinson,
George Barrington and Francis MacNamara also known as Frank the Poet.
At this time poetry had melancholic themes. As convicts were feeling
anguish, their poetry indicated empathy for the anguish of others. Lack of
paper or writing ability forced the convicts to turn their poems into songs.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 From these convict foundations a rich poetic tradition grew in


the form of Bush Ballads. The farmers, horsemen and a myriad
of other everyday people started writing poetry.
 The bush ballads were deeply ingrained in Australian history
and culture. These reflect quite accurately the time in which
those people lived. The stories are wonderful and cover all
aspects of life in Australia at the time.
 Among the greats of Australian Bush poetry, Henry Lawson
and Andrew 'Banjo' Paterson were the best known and loved
poets.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 In 1802, the first material in Australia was published at the


government press.
 The first published work on poetry was First Fruits of
Australian Poetry (1819) written by Barron Field.
 The Bush poetry was largely published in The Bulletin, a
newspaper, which started in 1880 and was extremely
influential in Australian culture and politics from 1890 until
1917. During this time it was known as The Bulletin School
of Australian Literature.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 At the turn of the twentieth century Australian poets started dreaming


about the future of Australia and its identity. Something that remained
constant was the focus of the poets on the landscape of Australia and their
neglect of the people and character of Australia.
 Notable poets of the time were Bernard O'Dowd, W.C. Wentworth, known
for his "Australasia, an Ode" (1823), Dorothea Mackellar, Adam Lindsay
Gordon, Henry Kendall and Christopher Brennan. All depicted Australia, not
as a colony of Britain but as a nation with its separate identity in their
poems.
 The Aborigines were almost never mentioned in the poetry of white settlers.
They were presented in derogatory terms to serve as a contrast to the
Anglo-Saxon culture. The Australian landscape was described in detail, but
still the common people of Australia were hardly ever mentioned.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 Modernism arrived with the poetry of Kenneth Slessor


and R.D. Fitzgerald. In 1930s two poetry movements
emerged in Adelaide: The Jindyworobaks and the Angry
Penguins.
 The Jindiworobaks encouraged Australian writers to
express themselves in a language indicating their
essence as Australians, whereas the Angry Penguins
wanted Australian poetry to become more innovative
and international by using surrealism and new
experimental techniques.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 A.D. Hope and Judith Wright were regarded as Post-War giants in Australian
poetry. In 1950s and 60s poetry expressed a solemn, ironic concern for
social and moral issues.
 During this period poets like Kenneth Slessor, R.D. Fitzgerald, Douglas
Steward, Rosemary Dobson, John McAuley, Gwen Harwood, William Hart-
Smith and Bruce Dawe were influential and wrote social and political satires
as well as reflected the realist tradition. A strong social awareness with
religious overtones also permeated their poetry.
 The vital feature of 1960s was the beginning of Aboriginal poetry. The
growth of Aboriginal poetry during this period enticed the attentions of the
readers worldwide. In fact the Aboriginal poets through their poetry raise
their own political issues and try to make the rest of the world aware of the
injustices done to them.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 Contemporary Aboriginal Australian writing began in the


1960s. In Aboriginal Australian poetry Kevin Gilbert, Colin
Johnson, Jack Davis, Graham Dixon and Robert Walker
gained worldwide popularity.
 During 1980s and 1990s prominent poets like Davis
Campbell, John Blight, Bruce Dawe, Les A Murray, David
Malouf, John Tranter and Robert Gray wrote more
experimental verses. After 1990s Fayzwicky, Roberta
Sykes and Billy Marshall dominated Australian poetry.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 Like poetry the commencement of Australia fiction can be related to the outlet
of the dormant emotions of convicts. The development of novel in Australia was
a slow and gradual process because of the slow publishing process. Most books
were imported from England. By 1945 only fifteen percent of books sold in
Australia were published there.
 The earlier phase of Australian novel was writing about convict life, by convicts
or ex-convicts. The vast majority of the convicts to Australia were English, Irish
and Scottish. Large number of convicts were thieves and others were soldiers,
who were transported for crimes such as mutiny, desertion and disobedience.
 The convicts were employed according to their skills and good behavior was
the only key, which could ensure their freedom. Convict labor was used to
develop public facilities of the colonies like roads, bridges, courthouses and
hospitals. Convicts also worked for free settlers and small land holders.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 The experiences of these convicts were recorded by themselves in early novel.


Quintus Servinton: A Tale Founded Upon Incidents of Real Occurrence (1831), a
fairly thinly disguised autobiographical account of crime and punishment, by a
convict Henry Savery, was the first novel both written and published in Australia.
The early phase in fiction was dominated by three trends: convict system,
adventurous and historical accounts and feministic perspectives.
 During the 1890s Australian Identity dominated Australian fiction. Novelists were
concerned with the life in the bush. The bush became the vehicle of expressing
national characters. Novelists explored the Australian landscape in their novels.
Moreover the weekly magazine The Bulletin, founded in Sydney in 1880,
encouraged the development of national literature.
 This trend was initiated by Ralf Bolderwood in Robbery under Arms (1888). Now
the novel became more realistic and Henry Lawson also contributed to the
same trend. The novel about the convicts that was dominant in the early phase,
lost its charm.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 When Australia became a federation of independent states, Henry Lawson, Miles Franklin
and Joseph Furphy brought transformation by portraying social realism and national
identity in their novels.
 Australia's vast and dry landscape became a character in many works of fiction. But still
many writers struggled with the notion of what it meant to be Australian. The novel of
adventure and romance dropped its masculine spirit and transformed into nationalistic
novel. Novelists portrayed the preoccupation of Australian citizens.
 Until the depression in 1929 most novelists were optimistic about the country, its past and
present. However, in the late 1930s the literary mood shifted and darker world views were
explored.
 Henry Handel Richardson's trilogy The Fortunes of Richard Mahony, published between
1917 and 1929, exhibited that Australian life could be material for a tragic novel. The post-
World War Two novel sought to examine the relationship between people and the
environment. Some novelists promoted reconciliation with indigenous people in Australia
and developed a greater appreciation for their relationship with the land.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 In 1973, Patrick White became the first Australian to be


awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. He published twelve
novels, eight plays, several collections of short stories and
works of nonfiction. The contemporary phase of the novel
starts roughly from 1970.
 At this time Australia eye-witnessed many political, social and
economical changes and as a result fiction attained the
height, which it had never experienced before. Since Patrick
White, Australia has produced a large number of outstanding
novelists. Many of them experimented with the techniques
also.
EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE

 During 1970s and 1980s prominent novelists were Helen Gamer, Jessica
Anderson, Beverly Farmers, Barbara Jaffsers, Kate Granville and Thea
Ashley. After 1980 there is no single vision or ideology in the diverse and
multicultural Australian society. So fiction also became diverse. Female
novelists developed feministic themes. The result of this dedication was that
by the late 1986s the landscape of Australian fiction was thoroughly
gendered and at the century's end women writers were a significant and
well established presence in Australian Literature.
 Today novel reflects the cultural diversity of contemporary Australian
society. Furthermore, novels no longer form part of the cultural binding of
society. They now are marketed to the same variety of consumer groups as
other products, so they are not only for children or adults, but for women,
feminists, aborigines, migrants, gays, lesbians, liberals - or, even for men.
EARLY LITERARY WORKS

 The first account of Aborigines came from the journals of


Early European explorer which contains description of
the first contact. The early account of literature was
done by an English buccaneer William Dampier who
wrote the “Native of New Holland”.
 British Romantic poet Robert Southey included a section
in his collection, "Poems", a selection of poems under the
heading, "Botany Bay Eclogues," in which he portrayed
the plight and stories of transported convicts in New
South Wales.
EARLY LITERARY WORKS

 Among the first true works of literature produced in Australia were the
accounts of the settlement of Sydney by Watkin Tench, a captain of the
marines on the First Fleet to arrive in 1788.
 In 1819, poet, explorer, journalist and politician William Wentworth published
the first book written by an Australian: A Statistical, Historical, and Political
Description of the Colony of New South Wales and Its Dependent
Settlements in Van Diemen's Land, With a Particular Enumeration of the
Advantages Which These Colonies Offer for Emigration and Their Superiority
in Many Respects Over Those Possessed by the United States of America, in
which he advocated an elected assembly for New South Wales, trial by jury
and settlement of Australia by free emigrants rather than convicts.
EARLY LITERARY WORKS

 The first novel to be published in Australia was a crime


novel, Quintus Servinton: A Tale founded upon Incidents
of Real Occurrence by Henry Savery published in Hobart
in 1830.
 In 1838 The Guardian: a tale by Anna Maria Bunn was
published in Sydney. It was the first Australian novel
printed and published in mainland Australia and the first
Australian novel written by a woman. It is
a Gothic romance.
AUSTRALIAN WRITING IN LANGUAGES
OTHER THAN ENGLISH
 Australia has migrant groups from many countries, and
members of those communities have produced
Australian writing in a variety of languages. These
include Italian, Greek, Arabic, Vietnamese, Lao, Latvian,
Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Yiddish, and Irish.
 Some writers, like the Greek Australian Dimitris Tsaloumas,
have published bilingually. There are now signs that such
writing is attracting more academic interest.
WRITING AND IDENTITY

 A complicated, multi-faceted relationship to Australia is displayed in much


Australian writing, often through writing about landscape. Barbara
Baynton's short stories from the late 19th century/early 20th century convey
people living in the bush, a landscape that is alive but also threatening and
alienating.
 Kenneth Cook's Wake in Fright (1961) portrayed the outback as a
nightmare with a blazing sun, from which there is no escape.
 Colin Thiele's novels reflected the life and times of rural and regional
Australians in the 20th century, showing aspects of Australian life unknown
to many city dwellers.
WRITING AND IDENTITY

 In Australian literature, the term mateship has often been employed to


denote an intensely loyal relationship of shared experience, mutual respect
and unconditional assistance existing between friends (mates) in Australia.
This relationship of (often male) loyalty has remained a central subject of
Australian literature from colonial times to the present day.
 In 1847, Alexander Harris wrote of habits of mutual helpfulness between
mates arising in the "otherwise solitary bush" in which men would often
"stand by one another through thick and thin; in fact it is a universal feeling
that a man ought to be able to trust his own mate in anything". Henry
Lawson, a son of the Goldfields wrote extensively of an egalitarian
mateship, in such works as A Sketch of Mateship and Shearers.
WRITING AND IDENTITY

 What it means to be Australian is another issue that Australian literature explores. Miles
Franklin struggled to find a place for herself as a female writer in Australia, fictionalising this
experience in My Brilliant Career (1901).
 Marie Bjelke Petersen's popular romance novels, published between 1917 and 1937,
offered a fresh upbeat interpretation of the Australian bush.
 The central character in Patrick White's The Twyborn Affair tries to conform to expectations
of pre–World War II Australian masculinity but cannot, and instead, post-war, tries out
another identity—and gender—overseas.
 Peter Carey has toyed with the idea of a national Australian identity as a series of 'beautiful
lies', and this is a recurrent theme in his novels.
 Andrew McGahan's Praise (1992), Christos Tsiolkas's Loaded (1995), Justine Ettler's The River
Ophelia (1995) and Brendan Cowell's How It Feels (2010) introduced a grunge lit, a type
of 'gritty realism' take on questions of Australian identity in the 1990s, though an important
precursor to such work came some years earlier with Helen Garner's Monkey Grip (1977),
about a single mother living on and off with a male heroin addict in Melbourne share
housing.
POETRY

 Poetry played an important part in the founding of Australian literature.


Among the earliest poetry published in Australia was First Fruits of Australian
Poetry (1819) by Barron Field. Four years later, William Charles Wentworth,
published a single poem, “Australasia, an Ode,” which is invariably cited as
the first poetic expression of a national spirit.
 It was not, however, until the time of Henry Clarence Kendall, an Australian
by birth, and Adam Lindsay Gordon, an English immigrant, that Australian
poetry really became significant. Gordon's sporting poems and narratives,
which had great popularity, are at their best in Sea Spray and Smoke Drift
(1867) and Ashtaroth (1867). Kendall, often called the national poet,
developed a personal idiom equipped to deal with Australian subjects in
Leaves from an Australian Forest (1869) and Songs from the Mountains
(1880); he was especially successful in describing the scenery of the
wooded valleys along the Pacific coast.
POETRY

 Henry Lawson, son of a Norwegian sailor born in 1867, was widely


recognised as Australia's poet of the people and, in 1922, became
the first Australian writer to be honored with a state funeral.
 Two poets who are amongst the great Australian poets
are Christopher Brennan and Adam Lindsay Gordon; Gordon was
once referred to as the "national poet of Australia" and is the only
Australian with a monument in Poets' Corner of Westminster
Abbey in England.
 Both Gordon's and Brennan's (but particularly Brennan's) works
conformed to traditional styles of poetry, with many classical
allusions, and therefore fell within the domain of high culture.
POETRY

 Australia was blessed with a competing, vibrant tradition of folk


songs and ballads. Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson were two of the chief
exponents of these popular ballads, and 'Banjo' himself was responsible for
creating what is probably the most famous Australian verse, "Waltzing
Matilda".
 At one point, Lawson and Paterson contributed a series of verses to The
Bulletin magazine in which they engaged in a literary debate about the
nature of life in Australia. Lawson said Paterson was a romantic and
Paterson said Lawson was full of doom and gloom. Lawson is widely
regarded as one of Australia's greatest writers of short stories, while
Paterson's poems "The Man From Snowy River" and "Clancy of the Overflow"
remain amongst the most popular Australian bush poems. Romanticised
views of the outback and the rugged characters that inhabited it played
an important part in shaping the Australian nation's psyche.
EARLY FICTION

 An early Australian fictional work is Tales of the Colonies (1843) by Charles


Rowcroft; but the most frequently reprinted is Geoffrey Hamlyn (1859) by
Henry Kingsley. Kingsley originated the novel of Australian pastoral life. His
main characters are, however, Englishmen who come to Australia for
colonial experience and then return to England, as he did.
 Two fairly prolific early novelists were Marcus Andrew Hislop Clarke and
Thomas Alexander Browne, the latter of whom wrote under the name of
Rolf Boldrewood. Clarke is most famous for his classic story of the convict
era, For the Term of His Natural Life (1874), which exploits the horrors of
convict life in the heightened realistic manner of Charles Dickens. Browne's
reputation rests on Robbery Under Arms (1888), a classic story of
bushranging. It may be described as an Australian Western, a narrative
about bush life full of vivid adventures.
EARLY FICTION

 Miles Franklin is best known for her feminist novel My Brilliant Career
(1901); an unsparing picture of outback life and a woman writer's
beginnings, it was later made into a highly successful film.
 The finest single work of fiction expressing basic Australian attitudes
is Such Is Life (1903) by Joseph Furphy, who used the pen name Tom
Collins. Furphy's life was spent as a farmer and driver of bullock
teams before the days of the railroad. His book, written in diary form,
is a compound of episodic adventures, philosophic and literary
opinions, and homely observations about people and conditions in
Australia.
LATER FICTION

 One of the finest craftsmen of Australian fiction was Frank Dalby Davison,
known primarily for his animal stories. The most distinctive of these, Man-Shy,
was published in the United States as Red Heifer (1934). It is a subtly
conceived story of a maverick on a Queensland cattle station. He is quite
as discerning in his stories of human character, as, for example, in his study
of pre-World War II suburban life in Sydney, the novel The White Thorn Tree
(1968).
 Eleanor Dark wrote excellent historical novels, especially The Timeless Land
(1941), which is about the founding of Australia; she also wrote novels of
contemporary life. Both types of her fiction are distinguished by
psychological perception and brilliant descriptions of the landscape.
LATER FICTION

 The Australian writer of the middle generation who was best known abroad
was Henry Handel Richardson, the pen name of Ethel Florence Lindesay
Richardson. Her earliest novel of note was Maurice Guest (1908), an
autobiographical story of an Australian studying music in Germany, but her
trilogy, The Fortunes of Richard Mahony (1917, 1925, 1929), is by far her most
widely appreciated work.
 The latter novel, based on the life of the author's father, begins with the
gold rushes of the 1850s and then penetratingly describes various aspects
of Australian life in later decades. The main character, after whom the
trilogy is named, is an unstable Irish doctor who intensely dislikes Australian
life; he is considered one of the major creations of Australian literature. With
profound insight, Richardson develops Australian themes in the European
tradition of psychological realism.
LATER FICTION

 The major figure among contemporary Australian novelists was Patrick


White, the first Australian to win a Nobel Prize in literature (1973). His Tree of
Man (1954), set in the Australian bush country, is an ambitious attempt to
describe the courage, dignity, and essential loneliness of the people of the
open farmlands. Voss, written in 1957, is a novel about a 19th-century
German explorer who tries unsuccessfully to penetrate to the remote
interior of the continent. It is written in White's very individual style with great
imaginative boldness.
 His novels, such as The Solid Mandala (1966), The Vivisector (1970), and The
Eye of the Storm (1973), another of his powerful character studies, also
attained favor outside Australia.
LATER FICTION

 John O'Grady, under the pen name Nino Culotta, wrote They're a Weird Mob
(1957), a comic novel that became one of the best-sellers of all Australian
novels.
 International bestsellerdom was achieved by Colleen McCullough's The Thorn
Birds (1977), a family saga translated into many languages and made into a
television drama.
 Worldwide fame was achieved by Christina Stead and Morris West. Stead's
finest novel was a bitter depiction of a failed marriage, The Man Who Loved
Children; among her other fiction was The Little Hotel (1973). West wrote several
international best-sellers, including The Devil's Advocate (1959) and The Shoes of
the Fisherman (1963).
 Thomas Michael Keneally has received overseas acclaim for The Chant of
Jimmie Blacksmith (1972), the story of an Aborigine's revenge, which was made
into an equally powerful film; and Schindler's Ark (1982), which won the
prestigious Booker Prize in England.
PLAYS

 The extraordinary circumstances of the foundations of Australian theatre


were recounted in Our Country's Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker: the
participants were prisoners watched by sadistic guards and the leading
lady was under threat of the death penalty. The play is based on Thomas
Keneally's novel The Playmaker.
 After Australian Federation in 1901, plays evidenced a new sense of
national identity. On Our Selection (1912) by Steele Rudd, told of the
adventures of a pioneer farming family and became immensely popular. In
1955, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll by Ray Lawler portrayed resolutely
Australian characters and went on to international acclaim. A new wave of
Australian theatre debuted in the 1970s with the works of writers
including David Williamson, Barry Oakley and Jack Hibberd. Williamson is
Australia's best known playwright, with major works including: The
Club, Emerald City, and Brilliant Lies.
PLAYS

 In The One Day of the Year, Alan Seymour studied the paradoxical nature
of the ANZAC Day commemoration by Australians of the defeat of
the Battle of Gallipoli. Ngapartji Ngapartji, by Scott Rankin and Trevor
Jamieson, recounts the story of the effects on the Pitjantjatjara people of
nuclear testing in the Western Desert during the Cold War. It is an example
of the contemporary fusion of traditions of drama in Australia with
Pitjantjatjara actors being supported by a multicultural cast of Greek,
Afghan, Japanese and New Zealand heritage.
 Eminent contemporary Australian playwrights include David
Williamson, Alan Seymour, Stephen Sewell, the late Nick Enright and Justin
Fleming. The Australian government supports a website
(australianplays.org The Home of Australian Playscripts |
AustralianPlays.org) that aims to combine playwright biographies and script
information. Scripts are also available there.
CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

 Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner is the first and only book by an Australian author to have
been continuously in print for 100 years. Ethel Turner's Seven Little Australians, is about the
adventures of seven mischievous children in Sydney.
 The Getting of Wisdom (1910) by Henry Handel Richardson, about an unconventional schoolgirl in
Melbourne, has enjoyed a similar success and been praised by H. G. Wells and Germaine Greer.
 Other perennial favourites of Australian children's literature include Dorothy Wall's Blinky Bill, Ethel
Pedley's Dot and the Kangaroo, May Gibbs' Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, Norman Lindsay's The
Magic Pudding, Ruth Park's The Muddleheaded Wombat and Mem Fox's Possum Magic. These
classic works employ anthropomorphism to bring alive the creatures of the Australian bush, thus
Bunyip Bluegum of The Magic Pudding is a koala who leaves his tree in search of adventure,
while in Dot and the Kangaroo a little girl lost in the bush is befriended by a group of marsupials.
May Gibbs crafted a story of protagonists modelled on the appearance of young eucalyptus
(gum tree) nuts and pitted these gumnut babies, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, against the
antagonist Banksia men. Gibbs' influence has lasted through the generations – contemporary
children's author Ursula Dubosarsky has cited Snugglepot and Cuddlepie as one of her favourite
books.
CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

 The Children's Book Council of Australia has presented annual awards for
books of literary merit since 1946 and has other awards for outstanding
contributions to Australian children's literature. Notable winners and
shortlisted works have inspired several well-known Australian films from
original novels, including the Silver Brumby series, a collection by Elyne
Mitchell which recount the life and adventures of Thowra, a Snowy
Mountains brumby stallion; Storm Boy (1964), by Colin Thiele, about a boy
and his pelican and the relationships he has with his father, the pelican,
and an outcast Aboriginal man called Fingerbone; the Sydney-based
Victorian era time travel adventure Playing Beatie Bow (1980) by Ruth Park;
and, for older children and mature readers, Melina Marchetta's 1993 novel
about a Sydney high school girl Looking for Alibrandi. Robin Klein's Came
Back to Show You I Could Fly is a story about the beautiful relationship
between an eleven-year-old boy and an older, drug-addicted girl.
CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

 Jackie French, widely described as Australia's most popular children's


author, has written about 170 books, including two CBCA Children's Book of
the Year Award winners. One of them, the critically acclaimed Hitler's
Daughter (1999), is a "what if?" story that explores mind-provoking issues
about what would have happened if Adolf Hitler had had a daughter.
French is also the author of the highly praised Diary of a Wombat (2003),
which won awards such as the 2003 COOL Award and 2004 BILBY Award,
among others. It was also named an honor book for the CBCA Children's
Book of the Year Award for picture books.
 Paul Jennings is a prolific writer of contemporary Australian fiction for young
people whose career began with collections of short stories such
as Unreal! (1985) and Unbelievable! (1987); many of the stories were
adapted as episodes of the award-winning television show Round the Twist.
FAMOUS AUTHORS

 Banjo Paterson
Australian bush poet, journalist and author
Created most popular Australian bush poems
 Notable Works: “Clancy of The Overflow”, ‘’The Man From Snowy River”,
“Waltzing Matilda”, “Prelude”, “Conroy’s Gap”
 Christopher Brennan
Influenced Australian writer
Christopher Brennan Award was created lifetime achievement in poetry.
 Notable Works: Because She Would Ask Me Why I loved Her, Autumn
Epiloue 1908, Fire in the Heavens, I Am Shut Out Of Mine Own Heart, Spring
Breezes, Sweet Silence After Bells
FAMOUS AUTHORS

 Adam Lindsay Gordon


Australian poet, jockey, politician
Once referred as national poet of Australia, only Australian with a
monument in poets corner of Westminster Abbey in England
 Notable Works: A Dedication, An Exile’s Farewell, A Song of Autumn,
Delilah, Doubtful Dreams
 C.J Dennis
Wrote Australian vernacular (“The Sentimental Bloke”)
 Notable Works: The Lovers, An Old Master, “Paw”, The Builders, Wheat,
“Got-a-Fag”, The Chase of Ages
FAMOUS AUTHORS

 Dorothea Mackellar
Australian poet and fiction writer
Her poem “My Country” is best known Australian poem because of its 2nd
stanza.
 Notable Works: My country, Fire This Life That We Call Our Own, Dawn at The
Dawning of The Day, Colour, The Colours of Light, Burning Off, In a Southern
Garden
 Dame Mary Gilmor
Teacher and a writer
Editor of woman’s pages of The Australian Worker Newspaper for 23 yrs.
 Notable Works: Eve-Song, Marri’d, Nationality, No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest,
O Singer in Brown, Old Botan Bay
FAMOUS AUTHORS

 A.D Hope
Controversial figure erudite mind and wicked wit to devastating effect as a
critic
 Notable Works: On An Early Photograph of My Mother, Patch And Mend, Poor
Charley’s Dream, Croesus and Lais, Pervigilium Veneris, Apollo and Daphne
 Judith Wright
Prolific Australian poet, critic, short story writer
Published more than 50 books
Environmentalist, social activist campaigning aboriginal land rights
Believed that the poet should be concerned with national and social problems
 Notable Works: The Old Prison, Request To a Year, Five Senses, Legend,
Magpies, The Company of Lovers, Metho Drinker
FAMOUS AUTHORS

 Gwen Harwood
Australian poet librettist
One of the Australia’s finest poets
Notable Works: In The Park, Last Meeting, Anniversary, Barn Owl, The Glass Jar,
The Wound
 Les Murray
Australian poet, anthologist and critic
Regarded as one of the leading poets of his generation
 Notable Works: An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow, Noonday Axeman, Pigs,
Poetry and Religion, On Home Beaches, The Aboriginal Cricketer
LITERARY JOURNALS

Most recent Australian literary journals have originated from universities, and
specifically English or Communications departments. They include:
 Meanjin
 Overland
 Island
 HEAT
 Southerly
 Westerly
 Verandah
 Rubric
LITERARY JOURNALS

Other journals include:


 The Lifted Brow
 Quadrant
 Sleepers Almanac
 Going Down Swinging
 Voiceworks
 Australian Book Review
 Page Seventeen
 Wet Ink
 Red Leaves
 Kill Your Darlings
 Harvest
 Etchings
 Tincture Journal
LITERARY JOURNALS

A number of newspapers also carry literary review


supplements:
 Australian Literary Review
Established online journals include:
 Cordite Poetry Review
 Jacket Magazine
 Textbase Journal
 Mascara Literary Review
Awards

Current literary awards in Australia include:


 Anne Elder Award
 The Australian/Vogel Literary Award
 Children's Book Council of Australia
 Ditmar Award
 Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry
 Mary Gilmore Prize
 Miles Franklin Award
Awards

Current literary awards in Australia include:


 New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards
 Patrick White Award
 Peter Blazey Fellowship
 Prime Minister's Literary Awards
 Queensland Premier's Literary Awards
 Stella Prize
 Victorian Premier's Literary Award
 Western Australian Premier's Book Awards
Awards

Australian authors are also eligible for a


number of other significant awards
such as:
Commonwealth Writers' Prize
Man Booker Prize
Orange Prize for Fiction
REFERENCES

 Bird, Delys. "New Narrations: Contemporary Fiction." The Cambridge


Companion to Australian Literature. Ed. Elizabeth Webby.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 183-208. Print.
 "The Settling of English." The Oxford Literary History of Australia. Eds.
Bruce Bennett and Jennifer Strauss. Melbourne: Oxford University
Press, 1998. 21-43. Print.
 Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.
 ^ Seal, Graham (1989). The Hidden Culture: Folklore in Australian Society.
Melbourne: Oxford University Press. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-19-554919-5.