True Blue?: On Being Australian

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Peter Goldsworthy
Allen & Unwin, 2008 - Literary Collections - 224 pages
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Australians mostly live in cities, yet many of our favorite movie characters are working men from the bush. We revere our sporting heroes, yet we prize their larrikin irreverence. Each year we enthusiastically commemorate a battle we lost. What makes us Australian? Why is it so hard to put a finger on what makes us unique? At the beginning of this new century, waves of immigration and our embrace of a wider world have made Australia a highly cosmopolitan culture. This lively collection from across the continent reminds us of our varied heritage, highlights our common connections, and sometimes discerns what Peter Goldsworthy calls "a national temperament." It shows us we have much of which to be proud. True Blue? draws together novelists, journalists, poets, cultural icons, historians, commentators, photographers and painters, old voices and new voices, who reflect on the stories we tell about ourselves and the myths we cultivate. By turns funny, ironic, penetrating, provocative, and inspiring, True Blue? is a great companion for a day at the beach or in the bush.

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Page 78 - I am seeing this: two men are sitting on a pole they have dug a hole for and will, after dinner, raise I think for wires. Water boils in a prune tin. Bees hum their shift in unthinning mists of white bursaria blossom, under the noon of wattles. The men eat big meat sandwiches out of a styrofoam box with a handle. One is overheard saying: drought that year. Yes. Like trying to farm the road. The first man, if asked, would say I'm one of the Mitchells. The other would gaze for a while, dried leaves...
Page 92 - There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported. And some there be, which have no memorial ; who are perished as though they had never been ; And are become as though they had never been born, and their children after them.
Page 28 - Are we going to have a population of 1,000,000 blacks in the Commonwealth, or are we going to merge them into our white community and eventually forget that there ever were any aborigines in Australia?
Page 22 - In all directions stretched the Great Australian Emptiness, in which the mind is the least of possessions, in which the rich man is the important man, in which the schoolmaster and...
Page 92 - Their seed standeth fast, and their children for their sakes. Their seed shall remain for ever, And their glory shall not be blotted out. Their bodies are buried in peace ; But their name liveth for evermore.
Page 136 - Out here the very ground under their feet was strange. It had never been ploughed. You had to learn all over again how to deal with weather: drenching downpours when in moments all the topsoil you had exposed went liquid and all the dry little creek-beds in the vicinity ran wild; cyclones that could wrench whole trees up by their roots and send a shed too lightly anchored sailing clear through the air with all its corrugated iron sheets collapsing inward and slicing and singing in the wind. And all...
Page 136 - And all around, before and behind, worse than weather and the deepest night, natives, tribes of wandering myalls who, in their traipsing this way and that all over the map, were forever encroaching on boundaries that could be insisted on by daylight— a good shotgun saw to that— but in the dark hours, when you no longer stood there as a living marker with all the glow of the white man's authority about you, reverted to being a creek-bed or ridge of granite like any other...
Page 64 - These raw colonial troops in these desperate hours proved worthy to fight side by side with the heroes of Mons, the Aisne, Ypres, and Neuve Chapelle.
Page 65 - ... to live the rest of his life haunted by the knowledge that he had set his hand to a soldier's task and had lacked the grit to carry it through - that was the prospect which these men could not face. Life was very dear, but life was not worth living, unless they could be true to their idea of Australian manhood.

About the author (2008)

Peter Goldsworthy is the author of Honk If You Are Jesus, Maestro, and Three Dog Night.

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