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Australian Literature Honours C: Journeys of Healing (ASLT4011)
Semester 1, Semester 2 / 2008


y separately published work icon Journey to the Stone Country Alex Miller , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2002 Z982836 2002 single work novel (taught in 3 units) 'Betrayed by her husband, Annabelle Beck retreats from Melbourne to her old family home in tropical North Queensland where she meets Bo Rennie, one of the Jangga tribe. Intrigued by Bo's claim that he holds the key to her future, Annabelle sets out with him on a path of recovery that leads back to her childhood and into the Jangga's ancient heartland, where their grandparents' lives begin to yield secrets that will challenge the possibility of their happiness together.' - Publisher's blurb.
form y separately published work icon Yolngu Boy Chris Anastassiades , ( dir. Stephen Johnson ) Victoria : Australian Children's Television Foundation , 2000 Z1604170 2000 single work film/TV (taught in 2 units)

'Caught in a collision between the modern world of rap, football, street cred and the oldest living culture on earth, Lorrpu, Botj and Milika are three teenagers who once shared a childhood dream of becoming great hunters together. But things have changed and their paths are diverging. The film is about the search for identity, making the journey from adolescence to adulthood and the implications of belonging to a larger social group, whether it be culture, a family or a group of friends'.

Source : (Sighted 8 July 2009).

y separately published work icon To the Islands Randolph Stow , London : MacDonald , 1958 Z320065 1958 single work novel (taught in 5 units)

'To the Islands concerns the ordeal of Stephen Heriot, an elderly, careworn, and disillusioned Anglican missionary who abandons his mission when he mistakenly believes he has accidentally killed one of his Aboriginal charges in a not entirely unprovoked confrontation. Heriot flees into the desert not to escape justice but to embrace its desolate beauty and its elemental purity as the one objective reality and the one certainty left available to him.

Heriot's flight and his embrace of the desert may be seen as his attempt, as a European Australian, to immerse himself in the landscape, to make himself one with the land. At this realistic level, the novel enacts the ontological and existential dilemma that confronts most — if not all — European Australians, the dilemma that Professor Hassall [in his introduction to the 2002 UQP Australian Authors version] defines as the continuing quest for psychic integration, for reconciliation with indigenous Australians, and with the land itself.'

Wells-Green, James. [Untitled Review.] JAS Review of Books 15 (May 2003)

y separately published work icon Tiger's Eye : A Memoir Inga Clendinnen , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2000 Z282560 2000 selected work autobiography short story prose (taught in 6 units)
y separately published work icon Night Letters : A Journey Through Switzerland and Italy Edited and Annotated by Igor Miazmov Robert Dessaix , Sydney : Macmillan Australia , 1996 Z529292 1996 single work novel (taught in 7 units) 'Every night for twenty nights in a hotel room in Venice, an Australian man recently diagnosed with an incurable disease writes a letter home to a friend. In these letters he reflects on questions of mortality, seduction and the search for paradise in deeply life-enhancing ways.' (From publisher's web site.)
form y separately published work icon Japanese Story Alison Tilson , Fitzroy : Gecko Films , 2002 (Manuscript version)x401999 Z1498780 2002 single work film/TV (taught in 10 units)

'Sandy, a geologist, finds herself stuck on a field trip to the Pilbara desert with a Japanese man she finds inscrutable, annoying and decidedly arrogant. Hiromitsu's view of her is not much better. Things go from bad to worse when they become stranded in one of the most remote regions on earth. JAPANESE STORY is a journey of change and discovery for its two lead characters.'

Source: Screen Australia.

y separately published work icon Hiam Eva Sallis , St Leonards : Allen and Unwin , 1998 Z804000 1998 single work novel (taught in 4 units)
y separately published work icon Craft for a Dry Lake Kim Mahood , Sydney : Anchor , 2000 Z997375 2000 single work autobiography (taught in 4 units) In Craft for a Dry Lake, Kim Mahood embarks on an extraordinary journey to her heartland - the outback of her youth. Compelled to revisit the haunts of her childhood by the tragic death of her father, Kim seeks to lay his ghost to rest, but instead finds herself faced with many of her own. Her adventures are interwoven with the echoes of childhood memories and peopled by an intriguing cast of outback characters. At times the lines between past and present become blurred as a daughter travels in the footsteps of her father, searching for a sense of place in this landscape she once called home. (Source: Trove)
form y separately published work icon Beneath Clouds Ivan Sen , ( dir. Ivan Sen ) Sydney : Autumn Films , 2001 Z1440560 2001 single work film/TV (taught in 12 units) Blue eyed, fair skinned Lena is the daughter of an Aboriginal mother, living in a small country town. She longs for the romantic ideal of her absent father and his Irish heritage. When her home life feels set to implode, she hits the road with little money, a backpack and a photo of her dad. When Lena misses her bus to Sydney, she meets up with Vaughn, an Aboriginal teenager who has run away from a minimum-security prison in the desperate hope of reaching his ill mother. Vaughn is hardened by his anger at the world. Initially the two reluctant travelling companions are suspicious and wary of each other, but their journey, mostly by foot and the odd lift, builds an understanding between them. -- Libraries Australia
y separately published work icon Benang : From the Heart Kim Scott , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 1999 Z135862 1999 single work novel (taught in 31 units) 'Oceanic in its rhythms and understanding, brilliant in its use of language and image, moving in its largeness of spirit, compelling in its narrative scope and style, Benang is a novel of celebration and lament, of beginning and return, of obliteration and recovery, of silencing and of powerful utterance. Both tentative and daring, it speaks to the present and a possible future through stories, dreams, rhythms, songs, images and documents mobilised from the incompletely acknowledged and still dynamic past.' (Publisher's website)


This unit of study introduces some complex, (largely) contemporary, Australian texts that deal in various ways with traumatic journeys through physical and psychological landscapes towards a sense of personal reconciliation. It will encourage students to: reflect on how they understand the relationship between narrative and healing; appreciate the ways in which various Australian writers address issues of gender, ethnic and race politics; and identify ways in which these writers address broader national concerns of rupture and healing in Australian imaginings.


All students will submit a long essay on a topic to be approved. Essays are 18000 words in length, and are due on Monday 13 October 2008. Each semester option is assessed by a 4000 word essay.

Other Details

Levels: Undergraduate - Honours