Seeking the Centre: The Australian Desert in Literature, Art and Film
Cambridge University Press
Roslynn D. Haynes
The desert has a hypnotic presence in Australian culture, simultaneously alluring and repellent. The 'Centre' is distant and unknown to most Australians, yet has become a symbol of the country. This exciting book reveals the singular impact that the desert, both geographical and metaphorical, has had on Australian culture. At the heart of this highly illustrated full colour book is the profound relationship that Aboriginal Australians have with the desert, and the complex ways in which they have been seen by white people in this context. The various attempts to conquer and colonise the 'hideous blank' by nineteenth-century explorers is covered in illuminating ways. In the twentieth century the desert was rediscovered by travellers, artists, novelists, poets and film makers. More recently the desert has been promoted as a site for eco-tourism, new age enlightenment and environmental renewal.