Reluctant Wandering: New Mobilities in Contemporary Australian Travel Writing

Cantrell, Kate ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5689-614X (2021) Reluctant Wandering: New Mobilities in Contemporary Australian Travel Writing. In: The Routledge Companion to Australian Literature. Taylor & Francis (Routledge), New York; London, pp. 353-364. ISBN 978-0-367-64356-0


Abstract

Travel has always been an important trope of settler literature, central not only to colonial displacement and dispossession but to postcolonial reimaginings of identity, gender, and place. However, it was not until the early twentieth century, after the rise of literary nationalism, that a more nativist form of travel writing emerged in Australia. In the first decade of the 1900s, travel narratives were essentially naturalist assemblages of specific regions that purposefully resisted an earlier urge to romanticise the land or reduce it to either a volatile antagonist or a haphazardous backdrop. Ted Banfield’s Confessions of a Beachcomber (1908) is a frank account of the author’s attempt to ‘set down in plain language the sobriety of everyday occurrences’ on Dunk Island, his remote Queensland home on the Barrier Reef (4). His contemporary, Charles Barrett, also published several travel books, including The Bush Ramblers (1907), a short, illustrated story about a young Australian family who leave their home in the ‘great city’ of Melbourne to live in the ‘big, lonely bush’ (5-6). The book, which was initially published domestically – a rare occurrence for the time – helped popularise the outback for young Australians. Like Ethel Turner’s Seven Little Australians (1894), the work was extolled for its portrayal of ‘authentic’ Australian children rather than transplanted British ones. Jeannie Gunn, who also wrote for children, is better known for her autobiographical novel, We of the Never-Never (1908), a recount of her brief stint as the station manager’s wife at the old Elsey Homestead on Rope River. These works, though principally concerned with Western notions of travel, signalled a rejection of Antipodean inversion and the crude tendency to view Australia as a place that was upside-down and inside-out, a topsy-turvy land that was either ‘absurdly comic or downright dangerous’ (White and Greenwood 406). For the first time, in the immediate aftermath of Federation, travel writing penned by Australians, about Australia, gained a significant readership.


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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to documentation, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2021 01:56
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2021 01:30
Uncontrolled Keywords: wandering; travel writing; Australian travel writing; mobility; new mobilities; mobilities research
Fields of Research (2008): 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200502 Australian Literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature)
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190402 Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting)
Fields of Research (2020): 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470502 Australian literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature)
36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3602 Creative and professional writing > 360201 Creative writing (incl. scriptwriting)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1302 Communication > 130203 Literature
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280122 Expanding knowledge in creative arts and writing studies
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280116 Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/41072

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