From the Herbig family who lived in a hollowed out tree trunk to Dr Bosisto’s ‘Syrup of Red Gum’, from the trauma and regeneration of bushfires to the ill-fated Burnside Village tree, the Tree of Knowledge, and the ‘dig tree’ - how can we understand Australia’s complex relationship with the eucalypt? The October 2017 Environment issue of Australian Book Review includes the third ABR Eucalypt Fellowship essay, ‘Ambassadors from Another Time’ by South Australian novelist Stephen Orr, in which he examines Australia’s evolving understanding of these iconic trees.
Stephen Orr studied ecology at university before starting to write fiction. He has taught Biology, Agriculture, and English. He especially loves novels about science and our sometimes difficult relationship with the natural world. His most recent novel, The Hands (2015), describes a farming family trying to scratch a living from drought affected grazing country. His most recent novel is Datsunland (UQP, 2017), which was reviewed in the June-July 2017 issue of Australian Book Review.
This $7,500 Fellowship is funded by Eucalypt Australia and we acknowledge their generous support.
Music featured in this podcast comes from the 2017 album The Double by David McCooey, which can be listened to and downloaded via Spotify.
This essay appeared in the October 2017 issue of Australian Book Review. To purchase a copy of the print edition, or to access the essay online, please visit our Subscriptions page. Subscriptions start from just $10.