Australian Literature Summative Entry

Throughout my studies into Australian Literature over this semester, I have developed a love for Australian writing. This love has evolved through the flexibility of expression I found in blogging about my experience. As an artist, I believe that creative expression is deeply fundamental to the human experience, and through my studies of Australian literature and its deep-rooted relationship with art, I have been able to nurture a self-directed exploration and appreciation of this concept.

Creating critical blog posts allowed me to develop a new perspective towards the texts, understanding their value in forging a national identity. I found I was often inspired to research and critique writers who’s manipulation of language could conjure a vivid experience of imagery, such as Judith Wright and Henry Lawson (the latter of whom you may find a critical blog post here.) I believe as human beings we thrive for creative expression, we use this to control or understand our experiences and the world around us. I was drawn to writers and artists who could capture a moment and place me in the scene, to understand and appreciate the human experience. To understand how the language and landscape of a nation developed.

Through my creative blog posts, I considered the value of Australian Storytelling and how this creative expression reflects the human experience. Drawing from Australian idioms, colloquial language and the landscape, I explored narratives deeply rooted within the culture and context of our Australian history. I thoroughly enjoyed engaging my own experiences with inspiration from my studies of Australian Literature and Art and writing creative blog posts (such as this) felt liberating. Critiquing my peers’ blog posts (like this) also allowed me to be open to a range of opinion and encouraged me to consider improving some inadequacies present in my own writing.

As a returning student, it had been years since I had created a structured piece of writing. I knew I was out of practice, and for the first few weeks, the thought of creating a body of work felt daunting. The freedom of creative and critical expression enabled me to explore my understanding of language, technique, and value through a truly personal process. I believe storytelling is a fundamental vessel for human creativity and through the writers and artists we have studied this semester,  I have been able to understand the value of the Australian narrative.

Tia Falls Valley



Peer Blog Review 7

This week I have added to Brianna’s discussion on Les Murrays poem “The Cool Green”

Hi Brianna,
You raised an interesting point, suggesting that the issues argued within the poem are still relevant in our culture despite the poem being written over a decade ago. Poetry often documents the human experience, and I think because of this, many poems we have studied in Australian Literature still feel ‘relevant’ despite their age. Also, a beautiful analogy between Murrays idea that “we are money’s genitals” and reproductive organs. We are the link that creates the unbreakable cycle of money. Great insight!

Peer Blog Review 6

This week I had the pleasure of reading Louise’s post on grief and poetry.

“Hi Louise,
You have a powerful appreciation and interpretation of poetic language.
I agree with your insights on “The Almond-tree in the King James version” by Rosemary Dobson, I thought it was a very interesting expression of loss. Your post is very well written and the only suggestion I might give is to consider including a visual interpretation or link your work to some support material.
Well done!”

Peer Blog Review 5

This week I added to Andrew’s discussion on European destruction in the Australian landscape

“Hi Andrew
Not only in retrospective history” this suggests that there continues to be a difference between Europeans and indigenous Australians today. Perhaps you could clarify these insights? As your finally statement argues, there is a European greed creating destruction as they purge the Australian landscape. I understand this to be your focus when you discuss ‘differences’. I believe through creating paragraphs and tidying up your initial statements this could be expressed in a stronger way.”

Peer Blog Review 4

This week I on commented on Felicity’s creative blog post influenced by the Appin Massacre.

“Hi Felicity,
An interesting creative response to the Appin Massacre, I think the perspective of narration you have taken was very clever. Perhaps you could further develop a sense of the cultural climate of 1816. It is possible that this response in the white community during that time would have felt very conflicting to the protagonist. A development of character would be very interesting.
Also, be mindful of your use of language for example ‘feel a strange feeling inside’ is repetitive. There were a few sentences that could be further refined.
Overall, well done!”

Peer Blog Review 3

This week I have added to Victorias discussion of values present in the works of Charles Harpur and Henry Kendall

“Hi Victoria,
This is a well informed analytical response to the values depicted in Charles Harpur’s “A Mid-Summer Noon in the Australian Forest” and Henry Kendall’s “Bell-Birds”. However, I’d like to know how you perceive the poems. Did you agree with the way the poems described the natural landscape? Do you the differences between texts affects has a significant effect on the Australian literary canon?”

Peer Blog Review 2

This week I commented on Jake’s understanding of the key issues present in Sidney Nolans painting “First Class Marksman” (1946)

“Hi Jake,
A great and iconic painting by Sidney Nolan! I agree there is a beauty in Nolans abstract technique and the image feels distinctly Australian. Perhaps you could connect this Art to a work of Australian literature you may have studied that has similarly influenced you. Also, you discuss society “During Ned Kelly times,” I think this post could really benefit from adding in dates- referring to the 19th century, or references to other texts.
Good work so far.”

Literature and Art

It is my belief that literature and art are often deeply entwined within one another. With this view in mind, this week we visited the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Through our tour of the gallery, we discussed how art and literature commonly reflect key issues of the period.

One painting that stood out to me was Arthur Stratton’s “Fire’s On’ Lapstone Tunnel (1891). This artwork was created during a period of transformation. At the desperate end of a prosperous gold rush, colonial society had found an appreciation for the individual character of the Australian landscape. Australia was forging a national identity. Through the work of artists such as Arthur Stratton, and poets such as Henry Lawson, we can clearly see that art and literature had begun to echo these issues.

Impressionism was an unfamiliar style at this time and Stratton’s manipulation of the method reflects the changing identity of early Australia. This painting stood out to me because I believe the informally structured forms, rapid brushstrokes and broad areas of colour and tone had created an emotively realistic and honest depiction of the Australian landscape.

There is an artful complexity behind this artwork. Almost literally split into two, it exposes a contrast between human destruction and raw nature. Depicting dramatic events of a death in the tunnel it speaks of the poignancy of human impact; as man destroys the earth, the earth could destroy man. The Art Gallery NSW describes on the artworks profile ‘The human drama of the painting, however, is overshadowed by the heroism of the landscape itself’ The image of the tunnel and the impact of labourers on the landscape reveals a primal power environment- from womb to tomb. This is the character of Australias’ Bushland and its way of life.

Arthur Stratton’s ‘Fire’s On’ Lapstone Tunnel (1891)


“The Blue Mountains” by Henry Lawson (1888) was written during the same era where this burgeoning love of country was beginning to be explored through visual expression. “The Blue Mountains” constructs powerfully vivid storytelling through a personification of the land  “And round about their rugged feet  Deep ferny dells are hidden.” Lawson uses beautiful language with highly descriptive imagery to evoke the wonder of the landscape, recognising its connectedness to the Australian identity. The poem ends on a sombre, moody and almost cautionary observation “The rising moon’s great placid face  Looks gravely o’er the ledges” demonstrating a sense of respect for the power of the land.

At the dawn of Australian nationalism Arthur Stratton and Henry Lawson mirror the changing issues of the era through art and literature. Demonstrating an emotive connection to the Australian landscape and a response to the formation of a national identity.

Continue reading “Literature and Art”

A Creative Interpretation

After my blog post last week which presented a connection to Australian artist Arthur Boyd, I was inspired to produce this short piece of creative writing. The narrative follows a memory of walking my dog in Bundanon; an Australian landscape surrounding Arthur Boyds studio.

Shoalhaven river.

The sleepy river murmurs low as it sweeps out to the sea in a vanishing flatness, and dotted down its lush and sunburnt banks ran a grand galvanized-iron town. Distinctly smelling of lawnmowers and steaming hose-water on hot bitumen. The dog and I spent the sticky afternoon lapping at the hose with an outstretched tongue, hot sun on thick black denim soaking through dirty rolled up jeans. Stirred by the ebb of the water we took off upon it shoulder. A river carved by tide and ranges, tromping knee deep in crackling grass towards the cool bank we could call our own. Around crooked bends and stretching ways, the dog picked up scattered sticks along the brim in his wet foaming mouth. The further we travelled the more feverish he became. Nostrils flaring, inhaling and exhaling as he picked up he scent of the water. He bounded ahead, urging me to come quick, shaking down grass and shrubs, no fear of brown snakes.
I crawled down through a split boulder and landed on shady sand. The dog was already on the shore. Still. Panting. Parting clouds threw sunshine onto grey and gold water like heavy-handed brush strokes. We stood in the ghostly silence. The call of an Eastern whip bird broke the undisturbed air. The dog looked at me for a command. “Cooee!” I bellowed. Tongue out, he thundered down the beach, leaped from the bank and crashed down into the cool tea tree stained water. His splash rippled across the river and made waves on the other side. Gleefully the dog sloshed back up to my side to shake his sopping fur.

This was our spot.


My loyal Kelpie, HB.

Peer Blog Review 1

This week, I have added to Tamara’s discussion of beauty and its purpose and existence in Australian literature.

“A very well written and engaging perspective. I agree, beauty is subjective, but I disagree that the word holds “no true meaning” The word ‘beauty’ portrays a very positive and affirming concept. I believe it has a very absolute meaning. Leading on from your interpretation, across the spectrum of Australian literature the manipulation of beauty/beauty lost is so enduring in subject matter, I think you may have touched on a very grand notion: Does all literature connect, in some way to the concept of beauty?
Interesting stuff.”