Europe and the Antipodes

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Asian immigration

In 1966 Prime Minister Harold Holt wanted to relinquish the “White Australia” policy and declared that “Australia’s destiny lay with the peoples of Asia” (20). However, the time was not fully ripe for notions of this kind, as public opinion was soured by Australia’s engagement in Vietnam, and it was not until 1973 that Australia was opened to Asian immigration. Since then one third of all immigrants have come from Asian countries, and Australia’s position as “the melting pot of the world” has become manifest. The mainstream of European immigration, which for two centuries had drawn the demographic map of Australia, now has to adjust to values of Asian origin. By and large successful interaction has been to the fore, but the great influx of Asians has also created problems. Hard feelings from the war tend to linger on, and competition for jobs has in some urban areas scape-goated the Asians as “gooks” (see the excerpt from Romper Stomper, p. ). Racism against non-white Australians runs high, particularly in northern Queensland, sometimes referred to as the “Deep North” (21), where ultra conservative politicians like Pauline Hanson enjoy considerable following in their exclusive, racist views. In other areas and walks of life the immigrants are looked upon as making a welcome contribution, but mudslinging in the political spectrum is quite pronounced. There is no doubt, however, that the many waves of New Australians have affected the population to the core, and that “immigrants from Europe and Asia helped deliver a mortal wound to the Giant of British philistinism. Grovelling to the British almost disappeared” (22). This rejection of British role models and of time honoured values has created an entirely new situation to which Australians have had to adjust. In 1994 Tim Flannery summed up the situation: “Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s the struggle of Australians to define their nationhood has intensified. Until recently, the image of the suntanned stockman – laconic, self-reliant, but a dependable mate – has been the role model for Australians; their way of defining themselves. But is the stockman a true Australian? Do the ideals he encapsulates help us survive in modern Australia? The same question, I argue, must be asked of our other cultural icons: our flag, oaths, anthems; and policies such as multiculturalism, a haven for large-scale immigration, and the relatively new idea of becoming part of Asia.” (23)

The youngest country – the oldest continent

To-day immigration has been cut to a comparatively low level as it “appears that the optimum population ... has been exceeded ... and that further population growth in Australia is pernicious.” (24) The population has for some years been fairly stable at around 18 million people, with the majority in the coastal regions in the south east. Sydney has exceeded five million, and Melbourne is close to four. The sprawling suburbs of Sydney cover an area larger than the “colonial world” of 200 years ago, and in down town Sydney the skyline all but obliterates the last remnants of convict built houses. From the vantage point of this antipodean metropolis we can look back over our shoulder at the past and see how in the course of two centuries “the youngest country” was laboriously and painfully wrenched from “the oldest continent”.


  1. Manning Clark, A History of Australia, p. 467

  2. Jean A. Ellis, Australia’s Aboriginal Heritage, p. 148

  3. Ibid., p. 148

  4. Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, p. 244

  5. Manning Clark, A History of Australia, p. 661

  6. A supreme example of dispossession is the rocket base “Woomera” in South Australia. It was set up during the cold war as a joint Australian – British enterprise, and as it was assumed that the vast stretches of desert were uninhabited it also became a test-site for nuclear warheads. The injuries sustained by the desert nomads have never been fully assessed, but “Woomera” (an Aboriginal word for “throwing stick”) has gone down into history as the Terra Nullius concept pushed to extremes.

  7. Jean A. Ellis, Australia’s Aboriginal Heritage, p. 154

  8. Henry Reynolds, “The Mabo Judgement – It’s Implications” (1993), pp. 1-2

  9. Ibid., p. 2

  10. Peter Yu, “Mabo – It’s meaning for Aboriginal Australia” (1993), p.1

  11. Manning Clark, A History of Australia, p. 520

  12. Ibid.,p. 529

  13. Several coastal cities, e.g. Broome, were bombed by the Japanese.

  14. Manning Clark, A History of Australia, 645

  15. The Second World War is often called the “Good War”, whereas Vietnam is the “Bad War”.

  16. Rejsen rundt i Australien (Politikens Forlag 1995), p. 33

  17. Ibid., p. 59

  18. Manning Clark, A History of Australia, p. 642

  19. Rejsen rundt i Australien, p. 63

  20. Manning Clark, A History of Australia, 651

  21. The “Deep North” has been coined as an equivalent to the “Deep South” in the US – a region known for its racist attitudes.

  22. Manning Clark, A History of Australia, p. 625

  23. Tim Flannery, The Future Eaters(Reed Books 1994), p. 390

  24. Ibid., pp. 374 – 75



The Youngest Country -

the Oldest Continent

The grass was greener,

The light was brighter,

The sounds were sweeter,

The nights were warmer...”

Pink Floyd, “A good day for freedom”

(from the album Pulse)
Gum tree in the city street,

Hard bitumen at your feet,

Rather you should be

In the cool world of leafy halls

and wild bird calls...

Municipal gum, it is dolorous

To see you thus

Set in your black grass of bitumen -

O fellow citizen

What have they done to us?”

Oodgeroo Noonuccal

M – would not go mad, but only because he carried with him the

strong conviction that he would ... walk once more in England’s

green and pleasant land.”

Jack Maggs – transported convict.

No sign that green grass ever grew in scrubs

that blazed beneath the sun.”

Henry Lawson

In August 1860 Burke and Wills set out from Melbourne to snatch from John McDouall Stuart and the colony of South Australia the honour of making the first south-north crossing of the Australian continent (see Historical Survey p. ). In November Burke divided his party at Cooper’s Creek in central Australia. He left Brahe in charge of most of his men and provisions at a fly and rat infested camp on the creek with the vague orders to remain there “three months or longer if he could”. Together with his second-in-command, Wills, and two others, King and Gray, he pushed north to the Gulf of Carpentaria. They made good headway and King wrote in his diary that “it had been very comfortable so far; in fact more like a picnic than a serious exploration ...Up to this point the country through which we have passed has been of the finest description for pastoral purposes.” They reached Carpentaria in February 1861, but the overall planning had been haphazardous, and on their return journey they were surprised by the wet season. They had to wade through endless stretches of marshland and suffered greatly from tropical diseases and lack of provisions. Gray died on the 17th of April just 80 miles north of the depot at Cooper’s Creek. When the three survivors dragged themselves into the camp on the 22nd of April, Brahe and his party had left on the very same day! Unable to find the provisions Burke left a note and decided that their only hope lay in making it to Mount Hopeless, the northernmost outpost of civilization.

A search party found King in September 1861 – he was highly distracted and disturbed, and never regained his mental balance.

The remains of Burke and Wills were returned to Melbourne where they were given a state burial in January 1863.

In June 1880 the Kelly gang was betrayed by

Aaron Sherritt. They killed this Judas of the

Australian bush people” and entrenched them-

selves in the Glenrowan Hotel, where they

were besieged by a massive police force:

David Malouf (1934 – ) was born in Brisbane of Lebanese parents. From 1959 – 68 he lived in Europe, mostly in England where he held several teaching jobs. When he came back to Australia he taught English at the University of Sydney (1968 – 77), but has since been writing full time. Malouf is a very prolific writer, and in most of his prose fiction and poetry he explores his childhood experiences. The inspiration for the historical novel Remembering Babylon could be the convict absconder, William Buckley, who in the beginning of the 19th century for more than two decades lived with the Watourongs who believed that he was the reincarnation of a dead chief of the tribe. When ‘the white blackfella’ returned to civilization he was pardoned and became a government interpreter.

Remembering Babylon
p. 1 paddock: indhegnet mark

gingham: en slags vævet stof (her om pigernes kjole)

braces: seler

devise: udtænke, finde på

elaborate: udarbejde i detaljer

nostrils: næsebor

dawdle : smøle, gå og drive

exert: udøve

kelpie: køter, hund af blandet race

solemn : højtidelig

p. 2 clippered:

ponderous: tung, anstrengt

scent : fært

warp: gøre skæv, fordreje, slå sig

ti-tree: tea-tree

elongate: forlænge

raid: overfalde

spellbound: tryllebundet

resolutely: beslutsomt

knobbed at the joints: med led der bulnede ud


p. 3 abode: bolig, tilholdssted

superstition: overtro

scarecrow: fugleskræmsel

raggedy: pjaltet, laset

scorch: afsvide, brænde

endure: vare ved

stance: (fod)stilling, skydestilling

mangy : skabet, lurvet

p. 4 wince: krympe sig

whine: klynke

lingo: sprog

incensed: ophidset

steik your mouth: skotsk=shut up

truculence : stridbarhed

docile : føjelig

submissiveness: underkastelse

presumptuous: anmassende, overmodig

gully: kløft, dal

p. 5 specimen: eksemplar

pedlar: sælger

scattered holdings: spredte jordbesiddelser

corrugated iron: bølgeblik

hitching post: pæl til at tøjre en hest ved

trough : trug

p. 6 lopsided: skæv

Ah’m the one he kens: skotsk=I am the one he knows

boisterous: støjende, larmende

collar: få fat i

despondency: fortvivlelse, håbløshed

airmy o’ fiends were aifter him: skotsk=an army of fiends (devils) were after him

gesture : armbevægelse

p. 7 fidget : nervøs bevægelse

baffled: forundret

mongrel: køter

scraps: madrester

torment: pine, kval

lapse: fald, svigt

p. 8 lean-to: halvtag

run rings around him : arbejde ham sønder og sammen

proprietary : ejendoms- , besidder-

precious : værdifuld, dyrebar

plait : flette

dillybag: taske som de indfødte samler mad i

gourd : græskar

yield : give

astringent: skarp, som får munden til at rimpe sig sammen

indelible: uudslettelig

lark about: fjolle omkring

lay claims to: gøre krav på

p. 9 rouseabout: altmuligmand på en gård

crest of the ridge: bakkekam

emerge: dukke frem

crowbar: brækjern; løftestang

yez: you

p.10 take a pot at: skyde på

bold as brass: fræk som en slagterhund

effrontery/cheek: frækhed

pow wow: snak, palaver

hover: svæve

confab: passiar, sludder

fit of pins and needles: ‘hans ben sover’

p.11 fiercely: rasende

hum and har: hakke og stamme

resentment: krænkelse

casual: tilfældig, skødesløs

p.12 descend : sænke sig

dignity: værdighed

leisurely : magelig, rolig

cricket: fårekylling

affront: fornærmelse, krænkelse

apparition: genfærd

assurance: sikkerhed, selvtillid

coon: nedsættende for en sort

furnace: smelteovn

Thea Astley (1925 – ) was born in Brisbane. Her first novel, Girl with a Monkey, was published in 1958, and since then she has written a substantial number of novels, short stories and poems. Although many of her books explore the conditions of Australian women, she “is sometimes perceived as less of a feminist than some of her younger colleagues “ (The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature, p. 45). One explanation could be that she often sees the issues in the wider perspective of human potential to do good. In this respect she can be seen as a successor to Barbara Baynton (see p. ). Like a good deal of her fiction It’s Raining in Mango deals with problems in Northern Queensland – in this case the social imoact of the gold fields and Aboriginal dispossession.

It’s Raining in Mango
p. 1 yield to : give efter for

ardent: brændende

lean-to: halvtag

shanty: hytte

p. 2 pester: plage

dash: stænk

primer: grundbog

billy: kogekar

kindling : optændingsbrænde

relieve oneself: forrette sin nødtørft

putrescence: forrådnelse

crevice: sprække, spalte

incoherence: usammenhængende (snak)

awry : skævt

repository: opbevaringssted

retch: brække sig

p. 3 brawler: slagsbroder

detachment: her=objektivitet

plead: bønfalde

decay: gå i forrådnelse

grille: gitterværk

dray: ladvogn

coil: rulle/krølle sig sammen

vile: nederdrægtig

mores: moralsk opførsel

vilification: bagvaskelse

roguery : slyngelstreger

denunciation: fordømmelse

dispersal: spredning

euphemism : forskønnende omskrivning

appalling: forfærdende

carnage : blodbad

indigenous people: urbefolkningen

p. 4 callousness: hjerteløshed

aggravate: forværre

indulge in: hengive sig til

object: protestere

venture: vove

be in possession of: eje

landed gentry: lavadel

decade: årti

poaching: krybskytteri

grouse: rype

p. 5 wurlies:

possum: pungrotte

wallaby: lille kænguru art

shunt off: afskære fra

bora ring:

lank: langt og svajende

p. 6 ragged: i pjalter

urgently : indtrængende

whimper: klynke

cavity: (hul)rum

gully: kløft, dal

remnants: rester

dodge: undvige

p. 7 desolate: lade tilbage i elendighed

reedy: rørbevokset

snivel: flæbe

dense: tæt

paper-bark: træ hvor barken skaller af

volition: vilje

blaze a track: bane en sti

the Dreaming: de indfødtes mytologiske tid

p. 8 resourseful: opfindsom, snarrådig

scattered: spredt

outskirts: udkant

clog: tynge, hæmme

p. 9 obligingly: imødekommende, tjenstvillig

somnolence: søvngænger tilstand

stringy – bark: en slags eucalyptustræ

chant: synge

p.10 snooze: sove, blunde

cautious: forsigtig, vagtsom

span: spænde over; her=kommunikere

limp: slapt

p.11 barter: byttehandel

tweak: trække

p.12 temptingly: fristende

incomprehensibly: uforståeligt

poised: balanceret, hævet

launch : affyring

Robert Hughes (1938 – ) was born in Sydney and educated at the university of Sydney where he graduated in architecture. Later he turned to art criticism and travelled widely in Europe. He wrote freelance for both Australian and English newspapers, and in 1970 he joined Time magazine as art critic. He has written a number of books on art history, but his weightiest contribution to Australian literature is his account of the convict system, The Fatal Shore (1987). This voluminous elaboration of Australia’s historical background in which he combines historical research with fictional and dramatic elements, has made a considerable impact, though critics have questioned the validity of his novelist approach.

The Fatal Shore

p. 1 fatal: skæbnesvanger

hospitality: gæstfrihed

revenge raid: hævntogt

solution: løsning

copulate: parre sig

cap a truce: besegle en våbenhvile

kinship: slægtskab

suspend: ophæve

corroborree: indfødt fest med rituelle handlinger

chant: sang

reinforce: forstærke

merge : blande

sketchily: i grove træk

prescribe: foreskrive, give påbud om

reluctance: modvilje

spear: dræbe med spyd

fertility: frugtbarhed

agricultural: landbrugs-

surplus: overskud

impede: hindre, sinke

offspring: afkom, barn

implement: redskab

wean: vænne fra

p. 2 starve: (få til at) dø af sult

thongy gobbet: læderagtig klump

singed : svitset

wallaby: lille kænguru art

digestible: fordøjelig

teething infant: barn der er ved at få tænder

induce abortion: fremprovokere abort

herbal: urte-

smother: kvæle

weeding-out: udlugning

repository: opbevaringssted, fond

hamper: hæmme, besværliggøre

infirm: svagelig

joints had seized up: led der var blevet stive

code: lov

millennia: tusinder af år

extend: udvide

deplete: tømme, opbruge

cult: dyrkelse

diarist: dagbogsskriver

opacity: uigennemsigtighed

Captain Hunter: blev den fjerde guvernør i Australien (1795-1800)

adoration: tilbedelse

venerate: nære ærbødighed for

sacrifice: ofring

the Maori : indfødte på New Zealand

conception: forestilling, ide, begreb

ancestral: forfædre-

locus: sted

tissue: væv

usage: brug

confer on: tildele, tillægge

tract of land: landområde

deprive of: fratage

p. 3 condemn: dømme

transcendence: det at stige op i en åndelig verden

disgorge: udspy, udtømme

chart: kortlægge

brief: instruktion

commit to: underkaste

battered: medtaget, forslået

in reverse: i modsat rækkefølge, bagfra

latitude: breddegrad

p. 4 announce oneself: melde sig

scrubby: kratbevokset

lean: mager

scraggy: tynd, radmage

pinnace : slup (en slags robåd)

make soundings: lodde dybden

frail: skrøbelig

corracle: lille bred båd af træskelet betrukket med skind

artifact: kulturgenstand

defy : trodse

brandish: svinge med

guttural: strubeagtig, med struben

syllable : stavelse

pitch: smide

trading truck: handelsvarer, småartikler

shy: kaste, smide

floury: melagtig

seal: segl

p. 5 insolent: fornærmende

humpy: hytte

elusive: flygtig, undvigende

denote: betegne, betyde

superfluous: overflødig

tranquility : ro, stilhed

inequality: ulighed

sparse: sparsom

penal colony: straffekoloni

subtle : underfundig, snedig

ferocious: vild, blodtørstig

timid: frygtsom

convict: straffefange

turd: lort

p. 6 staggering: forbløffende

specimen: eksemplar

species : art

stingray: pilrokke

the funnel of a trap: indgangen til en ruse

fang: hugtand

sheathing: beklædning (dvs. siden af skibet)

fluke: lykketræf

kedge clear: varpe, dvs. slæbe fri ved hjælp af ankeret

annihilation : tilintetgørelse

venison: hjortekød

spy: få øje på

keg: lille tønde

fickle: omskiftelig

alien: fremmed

nubbin: gnalling, lille klump

volley: salve

trundle: rulle, trille

Watkin Tench, 1788
p. 51 subtle intricacies: spidsfindige forviklinger

contemplate: betragte, overveje

undisguised: utilslørede

alteration: forandring

perceptible: mærkbar

cordiality: hjertelighed

intermixture: blanding; her=samvær

subsist: bestå, eksistere

induced to: tilskyndet til

celebrated navigator: berømt sømand (dvs. Cook)

conduct: opførsel

prevent: hindre

intercourse: samkvem

endeavours: bestræbelser

confirm: bekræfte

despise: foragte

anxious for: ivrig efter

apprise: underrette om

relate: berette

fidelity: her=nøjagtighed, korrekthed

detached: løsrevne

obtain: opnå

nimble, sprightly, and vigorous: adrætte og let til bens

deficiency: mangel

jaw: kæbe

Dampier: engelsk opdagelsesrejsende der i 1688 opholdt sig i tre måneder i det

nordvestlige Australien (New Holland). Hans beretning om dette op-

hold findes i A New Voyage Round the World (1697).

p. 52 piercing: gennemtrængende

inclined to: tilbøjelig til

confess: indrømme

greasy filth: fedtet snavs

sufficient proofs: tilstrækkelige beviser

render: gøre

droll: sjov, pudsig

notwithstanding: til trods for, uanset

disregard: her=mangel på interesse

finery: pynt

adorn: smykke

scar: ar

hideousness: afskyelighed

scarified: arret

gristle : brusk

daub : tilsmøre, oversmøre

afford: byde på

hatchet: økse

rudely fashioned: groft tilvirket

ingenuity: opfindsomhed

confined to: begrænset til

execute: udføre

delineation: aftegning, afbildning

benefit: nytte

comprehension: forståelse

rigour : strenghed

infer: slutte sig til, drage en konklusion

be inured to: være vænnet til, være hærdet overfor

indifference: ligegyldighed

visible: synlig

severely: strengt

shiver: ryste af kulde

huddle up in heaps: samle sig i klynger

p. 53 kindle : tænde

deficient in conveniency: ubekvem

shelter: ly

contrive: klare, have held til

engross: opsluge

subsistence: livsfornødenheder, underhold

unwearied assiduity : utrættelighed

procure: fremskaffe

haul seine : trække vod

resource: udvej

musket: gevær

sufficient: tilstrækkelig

disperse: sprede

hitherto : indtil videre

dispicable : afskyelig

vine: vinranke

dexterous: behændig, dygtig

deserving of admiration: fortjener beundring

dress: tilberede

procure by attrition: fremskaffe ved gnidning

dispose of: skaffe sig af med

p. 54 substance: her=kød

indiscriminately: i flæng

broil: stege

innocent: uskyldig, her=uskadelig

convict: straffefange

fall a sacrifice: blive offer

domestic animal: husdyr

reconciled to: forliget/forsonet med

mischievous : ondskabsfuld

divert oneself: underholde/more sig

at his expense: på hans bekostning

apprehend: frygte

embolden: gøre dristig, give mod

use further liberties: tage sig yderligere friheder

utmost expedition: yderste hast

sensibility: følsomhed

courteous : høflig, imødekommende

familiarity: fortrolighed

cautious : forsigtig

tender point: ømt punkt

intending aught : have noget til hensigt

p. 55 give offence: give anstød, vække forargelse

guttural pronunciation: strubelyd

oblige to: tvinge til

timidity: frygtsomhed

bashfulness: blyhed, undseelighed

singular: enestående, mærkelig

joint: led

erroneous : fejlagtig

celibacy: cølibat (leve uden seksuelt samkvem)

tender age: ung alder

hold: anse for

fatal: skæbnesvanger, dødelig

inflict: påføre

unaccountably: uforklarligt

rush cutter: een der skærer siv/rør

mangle: lemlæste

remote: fjern

p. 56 unawares: uden at være klar over det

effect their escape: tage flugten

pierce: gennembore

make shift to do: lige klare at gøre

barbed: med modhager

fish gig: fiskeredskaber med modhager

convert: omdanne

render: gøre

sabre : sabel

inflict a wound: såre

target: skive

assemble: samle

Indian file: gåsegang

thigh: lår

p. 57 ensnare: fange (i en snare)

presumption: formodning

Port Jackson: Sydney Harbour

enclosure: indhegning

divert their attention: aflede deres opmærksomhed

significantly: betydningsfuldt

tresspass on the reader’s indulgence: lægge for stort beslag på læserens over-


impose on: pådutte

civil regulations and ordinances: borgerlige forordninger

tributary respect: respekt som man skylder f.eks., en konge; skatskyldig

advanced in years: fremrykket alder, alderstegen

subordination: underordning

p. 58 tumuli (plur. af tumulus): gravhøj, dysse

county: grevskab

hint: antyde

uninhabited: ubeboet

confine: begrænse

pale: social gruppe

exemplary punishment: straf der skal tjene som (afskrækkende) eksempel

disposition: sindelag

manifest: åbenbar, tydelig

laudable : rosværdig

perseverance : udholdenhed, ihærdighed

institute: iværksætte

rigorous: streng

issue a proclamation: udsende en kundgørelse

p. 59 impartially: upartisk

regret: beklage

testify: bevidne

omit: udelade

conspicuous: iøjnefaldende, tydelig

attribute: tilskrive

accomplishment: opnåelse

fickle: ustadig

indolent: lad, doven

ludicrous: latterlig, grinagtigt

effect: tilvejebringe

the Sirius: et af skibene i den1. flåde

smoothness: glathed

consent: samtykke, erklære sig indforstået med

lather: sæbeskum

repose a confidence: vise tillid

decline: afslå

gunnel: ræling

comply with: efterkomme

beau : laps

infinite: umådelig

sanguine : optimistisk

cordiality: hjertelighed

encumbrance: byrde, ulempe

Jean A. Ellis (? ) is from central New South Wales where she teaches primary school. “She has had a life long and deep involvement with Aboriginal people and Aboriginal issues”, and her publications are based on extensive research into historical documents. She is the co-author of Aboriginal Australia Past and Present – a study which like Australia’s Aboriginal Heritage aims at developing “a greater knowledge and understanding of traditional and transitional Aboriginal culture and history.”

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