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Vance Palmer's The Passage (1930) and Eleanor Dark's Lantana Lane (1959) bracket the period during which the narrow coastal strip north of Brisbane from the Pumicestone Passage to the Noosa River was being transformed economically and culturally into what we know today as the Sunshine Coast. In the 1920s and 1950s respectively, Palmer and Dark participated in changing the region, and as established writers they reflected upon that metamorphosis in literary works that reached a national audience at a time when Brisbane's near north coast was off the beaten track for professional writers. But for millennia prior to colonisation, this area had sustained a vibrant economy and culture centred on bunyas from the mountains and seafood from the coast. By the late nineteenth century, this vast economic and cultural network had been radically disrupted by the incursions of timber-getters and pastoralists, and many of the traditional owners who had survived the frontier wars had been removed. While the inscription of a new identity on the region in the twentieth century was driven by the real estate speculators who coined the name ‘Sunshine Coast’, Palmer in The Passage and Dark in Lantana Lane share a more cooperative, sustainable, egalitarian and anti-imperialist vision for the region, with some indirect and ambiguous debts to its Aboriginal past.
Susan Stanford Friedman argues that modernisms are multiple, polycentric and recurrent. This article takes up her invitation to focus on the circulation of people and ideas that connected modernisms from different parts of the planet by reconsidering two moments in the literature of colonial Queensland as instances of proleptic modernism. The publications of Policy and Passion by Rosa Praed in 1881 in London, and of the ‘The Red Snake’ by Francis Adams in 1888 in Brisbane encapsulate early manifestations of the cultural unease and destabilisation that drove the development of modernism/s as the expressive domain of modernity/ies. Striking thematic and stylistic parallels with the work of canonical modernists — HD in the case of Praed, and Conrad in the case of Adams — suggest not only that modernism began to manifest itself in Anglophone culture much earlier than is generally conceded, but also that the cognitive dissonance generated by the colonial experience was centrally implicated in its development.
Serendipity has always played a role in research, and today the availability of digitised newspapers through Trove offers new opportunities for chance discoveries. A couple of years ago, Glenn R. Cooke — then Research Curator of Queensland Heritage at the Queensland Art Gallery — referred me to a snippet from The Queenslander of 15 October 1892, where the Melbourne correspondent writes:
My attention was recently drawn to ‘Drifting’, a novel by a Queensland lady who uses the nom de plume of ‘Ellerton Gay.’ She lived, I believe, for eighteen years in Toowoomba, and is the wife of Mr. J. Watts-Grimes, who is well known in squatting circles. She has lived in England six years, and there she has embalmed her memories of the Queensland which is so dear to her. ‘Drifting’ is much admired here.
‘What's in a name?’ asks the title of one of Ellerton Gay's short stories. The pseudonym, which was evidently an open secret in her lifetime, has subsequently obscured ‘Ellerton Gay’ and her creator, Emma Watts Grimes, from the view of literary historians: Patrick Buckridge and I, for example, overlooked her in our historical survey of literature in Queensland, By the book (2007). Until very recently, the AustLit Database listed her as male, with no further biographical details, and — despite its recent facsimile republication of her novel, Drifting under the Southern Cross (1890) — the British Library fails to make the link between Ellerton Gay and Emma Watts Grimes in its catalogue entry. The reissue of this novel, justifiably ‘much admired’ in its own time, suggests that its elusive author is worth a reappraisal. Since Ellerton Gay's oeuvre draws extensively on the lived experience of Emma Watts Grimes and her extended family, this article provides a biographical sketch before discussing the fictional works.
In 2013, Professor Patrick Buckridge retired after a long career at Griffith University. Patrick was one of a dedicated group of teachers whose enjoyment of disputation became legendary in the School of Humanities. Together, they created a rich and innovative curriculum; individually, they made distinctive contributions to scholarship in their disciplines. In Australian studies, Pat Buckridge worked with Gillian Whitlock, David Carter, Mark Finnane, Stephen Garton and Chilla Bulbeck; and later, as he developed courses in ‘Great Books’, with Belinda McKay. Pat was to become a head of the School of Humanities, and he was the last Dean of that faculty before a restructure saw it disappear.
The themes of cultural dislocation and the struggle to feel ‘at home’ in a new land figure prominently in Australian literature, and considerable critical attention has been devoted to the distinctive articulations of these preoccupations by well-known writers of Irish birth or descent, such as Victor Daley, Bernard O'Dowd and John O'Brien. Queensland's Irish writers, however, have been largely forgotten or overlooked — both individually and as a group.
This issue of Queensland Review, our second with Cambridge University Press, consists of two autobiographical reflections on Queensland in the 1950s, followed by six scholarly articles on various aspects of Queensland history – musical, literary, legal, architectural and institutional.
Despite the current preoccupation with globalisation, literary criticism remains heavily focused on national cultures. In the context of Australian literature, comparisons are regularly made with the literatures of other British Commonwealth nations, but surprisingly infrequently with that of Britain's first and most successful colony, the United States. This article explores thematic and cultural connections between the work of American-born modernist poet and novelist H.D. (1886–1961) and the Australian-born postmodern novelist Janette Turner Hospital (born 1942). It suggests that the transnational phenomenon of ecstatic Protestantism, which originated in northern Europe and was disseminated widely around the globe along the channels of commerce and colonisation, has been a key influence in shaping the literary imaginations of these writers. Indeed, Protestantism – far from being a spent or reactive force – continues to generate new forms of modernity as its emphasis on transformation is exported from somewhat inward-looking religious communities into broader cultural domains.
In 1949, Clive Turnbull remarked that Australian Life (1892), a collection of short stories by Francis Adams, ‘is a book that deserves to be resurrected’. While two of the radical English writer's novels have been republished over the last three decades, Australian Life — which Turnbull regarded as ‘perhaps the most noteworthy’ of Adams' works of fiction — has not been resurrected either in print or online, and is accessible only in rare book libraries. Republication here in Queensland Review of the original version of Adams' short story ‘The Red Snake’, which appeared first in the Boomerang in 1888 and was later revised for Australian Life, may help to renew interest in Francis Adams' carefully crafted but disturbing narratives of life in the Australian colonies in the 1880s.
The emergence of modern queer identities is usually located in cities — initially the European and American metropolises, followed by provincial or colonial cities like Sydney. While the argument that a critical mass of people triggers the formation of new identities is compelling, a centralised, urban model of the generation of modern queer identities ignores an alternative theoretical model emphasising flow and connection between the ‘centre’ and the ‘margins’ that has emerged in writing about colonial and post-colonial cultures, but which has a wider applicability in understanding cultural change. In this paper, I argue that marginalised same-sex behaviours and relationships on the periphery of the empire or the nation are implicated in larger patterns of interconnectedness and reciprocity in the historical formation of modern sexual identities.2 Specifically, I use a family study to explore manifestations of same-sex attraction in early twentieth century Cooktown and the influence of these sexual role models on three subsequent generations.
In late nineteenth and early twentieth century Brisbane, writing became a profession that was increasingly open to women. This phenomenon developed partly in response to a rapidly expanding urban female audience, but in turn it helped to form the tastes, reading habits and social attitudes of new generations of female readers. The prolific and popular poet Emily Coungeau exemplifies a new, self-consciously cosmopolitan type of woman writer who emerged in Brisbane in the early twentieth century.
Southeast Queensland — the region encompassing Coolangatta and the McPherson Range to the south, Cooloola and the Blackall Range to the north, and the Great Dividing Range to the west — represents one of Queensland's most significant literary landscapes. For millennia, this area — defined by mountains and waterways — contained important gathering places for ceremonies and trade, and its inhabitants elaborated the meaning of the landscape in a rich complex of stories and other cultural practices such as the bunya festivals. Colonisation disrupted but did not obliterate these cultural associations, which remain alive in the oral traditions of local Aboriginal people and, in more recent times, have surfaced in the work of writers like Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Sam Watson.
Janette Turner Hospital is the author of eight novels, four collections of short stories, a novella published only in French, and a crime thriller under the pseudonym Alex Juniper. Her work has been published in 20 countries, and in 12 languages other than English. She is the recipient of a number of overseas literary awards, and both Griffith University (in 1996) and the University of Queensland (in 2003) have conferred honorary doctorates upon her. In 2003 she won the Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Best Fiction Book for her most recent novel, Due Preparations for the Plague, and the Patrick White Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement.
By the time that Europeans became acquainted with the bunya, the gum tree was already well established as the iconic Australian tree. The genus Eucalyptus, with all its locally specific variants, was both distinctive to the continent and widely dispersed throughout it. In contrast, the bunya tree (classified as Araucaria bidwillii in 1843) grew in a small area of what is now South-East Queensland and was seen by few Europeans before the 1840s, when Moreton Bay was opened to free settlement. The physical distinctiveness of the bunya tree, and stories of the large gatherings which accompanied the triennial harvesting of its nut, aroused the curiosity of early European explorers and settlers, and in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the bunya tree achieved a special status in local civic culture. Although heavy logging had largely destroyed the great bunya forests, the tree was planted extensively in school grounds, around war memorials and in long avenues in parks.