Towards decolonising Australia

McLaren, John (1997) Towards decolonising Australia. In: South Asian and Australian Studies Conference, January 1997, Kerela. (Unpublished)


Contains a literary discussion on the possibilities of breaking from national traditions and mythological histories in writing. It was a commonplace that the form of the novel remained tied to its origin in the early stage of imperialism. Even in independent postcolonial states, the novel continues to confine possibility within the same colonial and capitalist hierarchies of freedom and order. Contradicting this tendency, this paper will examine three options used by settler Australian novelists to escape the dominance of metropolitan order: the family chronicle takes possession of the colonial place but can only reproduce the imperial patterns within the new colonial space; the novel of migration frees its characters from this dominance but jeopardizes their possession of space; and finally, the novel of resistance reclaims its space by locating the place in the past. These forms will be examined in the work of Miles Franklin, Frank Hardy, Adib Khan, Janet Turner Hospital, Liam Davison and Rodney Hall. Furthermore, the paper suggests that Australia can become postcolonial only by coming to terms with the rewriting of national history from the perspective of the Aboriginal peoples whose displacement and marginalization provided the conditions for colonialism.

Item type Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 2005 Literary Studies
Current > Collections > McLaren Papers
Keywords literature, novels, traditions, nationalism, mythology, fiction, MCLAREN-BOXF5-DOC4
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