Gene Bawden




Monash University, Australia



Home is where the art is


The history of Australia's white identity is one of change, indecision and appropriation. The embarrassment of convict origins had been largely displaced by the middle of the nineteenth century, but an overwhelming commitment to an English paradigm prevailed throughout the colony for most of the 1800s. In a vast, and at times unforgiving environment, an alignment to a ruling motherland and its governing protocols provided a much needed sense of belonging and fended off debilitating feelings of exile. As the white population grew and its first Australian born residents matured, the country's devotion to England began to wane as it developed its own rural identity based on the bush mythology and the pioneer spirit. The twentieth century, however, brought with it a rising international modernism and a city centric culture that would challenge the parochial qualities of both the English precedent and the Australian bush legend. For each distinctive phase of cultural alignment the proliferation of print media cued the population to the most recent incarnations, both pictorially and editorially, of white Australian identity: sometimes original, but most often borrowed and appropriated. This paper will investigate how the popular print media educated, but at the same time documented, the changing cultural alignment white Australians had endeavoured to identify with in the hundred years that spanned the middle of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Tuesday 27 September


1:30pm - 3.00pm





Chairing Session chair - Thursday 29 September, 11:00am - 12.30pm; Wednesday 28 September, 11:00am - 12.30pm
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