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Bush Writing

Twinings has recently introduced a new tea flavour called ‘Australian Afternoon Tea’. On the box is an image of kangaroos silhouetted against a red rocky background, which is a sort of amalgam, or perhaps amalgum, of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. This book is like that tea – more Australian than Australia, in a packaged, labelled form that relies heavily on recognition, stereotype, and sentiment. I have to admit that when I started reading the Introduction I thought it might be a parody, but perhaps that just shows jaded sensibilities. Nevertheless, I am not convinced that as ‘Australians we carry a certain vague longing for the bush’. Perhaps I am not drinking the right tea.

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Barbara Baynton (Portable Australian Authors) edited by Sally Krimmer and Alan Lawson

August 1980, no. 23

None of the writers who emerged from the Australian bush has dealt as powerfully with its horror as Barbara Baynton, yet she is probably mainly known only for the two anthologised short stories, ‘Scrammy ’And’ and ‘Squeaker’s Mate’, the latter of which has been made into an excellent short film by David Baker.


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