Learning from the bush

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  • Published 20080502
  • ISBN: 9780733322822
  • Extent: 288 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

THE OPPOSITION OF the city to the bush was, of course, one of the great topics of late nineteenth century Australia. Although beaten up by Bulletin writers and cartoonists, it was arguably part of the process of transforming immigrants into Australians. At the very least, the public debate meant that those who lived in coastal cities could not forget the land behind their backs.

Even in the 1950s, when I was growing up, this opposition was still regarded as a natural polarity: like the difference between winter and summer, or northern and southern hemispheres. With monotonous regularity, at school we were asked to debate the proposition ‘It is better to live in the city than the bush’ (or vice versa).

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