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Does Australia have a

literary heritage worth

Over the coming lessons we will examine the contribution of
indigenous literature to the Australian literary heritage.
In doing so we will expand our knowledge of style.
Style is important, as our job leading into the next assessment task

In reading literature that is culturally distinct from ours, we reshape
and reimagine the boundaries that secretly circumscribe our
Before we start we will have a brief discussion on the concept of
indigenous literature itself.

Adam Shoemaker in an article for The Oxford Literary History of

Australia begins his discussion of Aboriginal literature as follows:

The historical dates which constitute

what is known as chronological time
have often been used to imprison
Australias indigenous people
Q 1. Why do you suppose the author made this claim?
Q 2. How can chronological time be used to imprison
Australias indigenous people?
Q 3. What implications does this statement have for our
discussion of indigenous literature as a concept?

Shoemaker continues by saying:

Terms such as prehistory and preliteracy carry
with them the strongest sense of a time before--and a
time after. Of course, these dividing lines have been
imposed retrospectively upon Black Australians by
those who are not members of that culture. Such
arbitrary demarcations also imply that the past
begins when it is recorded in legible script, not when
human beings began to commit stories to memory.
What cannot be ignored is the fact that scores of
Aboriginal verbal artists have told and re-told tales
which defy datable chronology. Indigenous Australian
storytellers lay down tracks in their narratives: tracks
which are typically circular; which journey forwards
and backwards; which involve transformations,
metamorphoses, changes. Above all, they are stories
in which journeys take place, in which journeys
themselves are the story.
Q 4. Why are the terms prehistory and preliteracy
inappropriate to describe the chronology of Australian
indigenous literature?
Q 5. According to the Author, what are the distinctive
features of Australian indigenous literature?
Q 6. Do you agree or disagree with the authors critique of
the western literary tradition? Why?
Activity 1. Relate a story from your life in a style that fits
Adam Shoemakers description of Australian Indigenous
That is to say, without having a full understanding write a
piece that exhibits:
Circularity (The story ends at the place where it
Involves a journey
Should be told verbally, etc.

Homework for next lesson will be to look up the work of:

Paddy Roe
Trevor Nicholls

As these are the artists we will be studying in the coming