"What lies beneath: Reading Melbourne's CBD Through The Another View Walking Trail." PAN: Philosophy Activism Nature 12 (2016): 69.
This article is about memory, history and erasure as expressed through the framework of the decommissioned-but fragmentarily remnant-walking trail, the Another View Walking Trail located in and around Melbourne's Central Business District (CBD). The Another View Walking Trail, herein referred to as the AVWT, was constructed in 1995. Commissioned by The City of Melbourne and in collaboration between Aboriginal artist Ray Thomas (Gunnai people, Gippsland, Victoria), researcher/writer Robert Mate Mate (Woorabinda/ Berigaba people, Queensland) and non-Aboriginal artist Megan Evans, the trail sought to reconfigure the colonial narrative implicit in the structural configuration of the CBD. The premise was/is at once simple and radical: counter-monuments were/are constructed next to monuments and structures that are sites of colonial power; these counter-monuments, accompanied by explanatory text in the trail's pamphlet, momentarily alter/ed the narrative of that site. Through such acts of juxtaposition sites of opposition and resistance were/are opened which produce/d a contemplative schism into which the assumed reality of the city fell/falls. Through labour-intellectual, physical and emotional-'the walker' emerges(ed) from the trail with an understanding of 'another history of Melbourne,' one in which Aboriginal resistance, spirituality and history is exhumed from the aestheticized spaces of Melbourne's streets and parks. The trail itself is a text-to be read in its entirety and not in the dislocated manner habitual to the experience of city monuments-only then does meaning, complex, entangled and disruptive, finally emerge. 'To read,' in the very De Certeau-ian sense, means here, 'to walk.' The trail since has fallen into disrepair; only three of the original 17 counter-monuments remain. 'Defacement,' according to Anthropologist Michael Taussig, renders the invisible visible. A vandalized wall makes itself apparent to the 'passer-by.' But what are we to make of the act of 'deterioration?' Some of the conclusions that can be drawn from the deterioration of the AVWT are self-evident: primarily, a resistance to acknowledging histories that disrupt narratives of national grandeur and/or an inability to look into the past and face the present. 'Deterioration' and 'neglect' provide an appropriate frame for a renewed approach to the AVWT: however, these conditions are not synonymous with any lapse in the functionality, operability or significance of the trail-the AVWT has no association with the word 'failure.'.
Aboriginal Writers and Popular Fiction: The Literature of Anita Heiss. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (2021).
Wiradjuri woman, Anita Heiss, is arguably one of the first Aboriginal Australian authors of popular fiction.
A focus on the political characterises her chick lit; and her identity as an author is both supplemented and complemented by her roles as an academic, activist and public intellectual. Heiss has discussed genre as a means of targeting audiences that may be less engaged with Indigenous affairs, and positions her novels as educative but not didactic. Her readership is constituted by committed readers of romance and chick lit as well as politically engaged readers that are attracted to Heiss' dual authorial persona; and, both groups bring radically distinct expectations to bear on these texts. Through analysis of online reviews and surveys conducted with users of the book reviewing website Goodreads, I complicate the understanding of genre as a cogent interpretative frame, and deploy this discussion to explore the social significance of Heiss' literature.
"An English Tale for an Emergent Nation: William Howitt's 'Black Thursday' and the Narrativisation of Bushfire."
Black Thursday and Other Lost Australian Bushfire Stories. Canberra: Orbiter Publishing. (2021)
In these stories of a quintessential Australian phenomenon, bushfires reveal a conflagration of human drama. They deepen the pain of a tragic love triangle, bring justice to a false mate, and push a young drover and his horse to the limits of their endurance. A priest and wedding guests find themselves fighting fires instead of toasting the happy couple. A woman capable of saving her farm from fire cannot save herself from the proprietary rage of men. And a good horse and a faithful dog prove themselves the best allies in a dangerous situation.
“Mythologised, Memorialised Then Forgotten: A History of Australia’s Bushfire Reporting.” The Conversation. (January 18, 2022)
For European colonists in 19th century Australia, bushfires were a strange, but by no means uncommon phenomenon. Rather, they had become part of life, and also a focus of media attention.
In addition to journalistic reporting, Australian newspapers also published hundreds of serialised bushfire narratives, often concurrent with the fire season.
Reading these accounts together provides insight not only into shifting attitudes towards disaster, but also the way fire disaster itself is mythologised, memorialised or forgotten.
This article has been included on a number of tertiary curriculums across the disciplines of Cultural Studies, Urban Design, Architecture, Literature and Human Geography at both The University of Melbourne, Monash University and James Cook University. If you are interested in including this article in your curriculum please consider contacting The Koorie Heritage Trust to arrange or discuss the possibility of undertaking a guided tour.