Invasion Day, 2021

AWW Gen 3 Week Part II 17-23 Jan, 2021

The Timeless Land.... eleanor dark ..1960

If the government is going to censor the ABC, our national broadcaster over the use of ‘Invasion Day’, not to mention spending $10 mil on advertising its preferred ‘Australia Day’, then you can guess which side I am on.

Australians will know Watkin Tench as an officer well inclined towards the local inhabitants of the Sydney region and as the best-known chronicler of the first days of white settlement (here and here). I had occasion to re-read my reviews of his accounts in connection with Neil@Kalaroo’s well received review of The Timeless Land, and extracted the following dates. The first fleet arrived in Botany Bay on 18-20 Jan, 1788; moved to neighbouring Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) on 26 Jan; and proclamations were read declaring the eastern half of New Holland (Australia) a British colony on 7 Feb.

Australia became a nation on 1 Jan, 1901 – though still a subsidiary of London within the British Empire; white women became full citizens at the following national election, in 1902; and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands people were admitted to citizenship in May 1967.

But we choose the day which celebrates the foundation of Sydney and the dispossession of the Eora, Cadigal, Guringai, Wangal, Gammeraigal and Wallumedegal people initially, and eventually, of all the Aboriginal nations.

So it’s apt for today that I re-use the cover image from my – or more correctly, Neil’s – last post. And, it’s a good image too for this summary of what has been an excellent Week, by participation, by variety of books discussed, and by my favourite part of the week, your engagement with the discussion of underlying themes.

I wish particularly to thank Sue/Whispering Gums and Brona/Brona’s Books for their enthusiasm and work. I think between them they may have put up more posts than I did. Here’s the list –

The Australian Legend
Late Modernity, and introduction to the Week (here)
Kylie Tennant, Tell Morning This (here)
Christina Stead, The Little Hotel (here)

Whispering Gums
Vance Palmer, The Future of Australian Literature, 1935 (here)
Monday Musings: Realism and Modernism (here)
ML Skinner, The Hand (here)
Dymphna Cusack, A Window in the Dark (here)
Monday Musings: Contemporary Responses to Coonardoo (here)

Brona’s Books
Eve Langley, The Pea Pickers (here)
Ernestine Hill, My Love Must Wait (here)
Katharine Susannah Prichard, The Wild Oats of Han (here)

ANZ Litlovers Litblog
Katharine Susannah Prichard, Coonardoo (here)
Kylie Tennant, Ride on Stranger (here)

Nathan Hobby
Katharine Susannah Prichard in the 1940s and 50s (here)

Buried in Print
Eleanor Dark, The Little Company (here)

Book Around the Corner
Eleanor Dark, Lantana Lane (here)

Eleanor Dark, The Timeless Land (here)

The Resident Judge of Port Phillip
Julie Marcus, The Indomitable Miss Pink (here)
Dymphna Cusack, Say No to Death (here)

There are two or three reviews pending. Jessica White has stopped packing for her imminent move from Brisbane to Adelaide to read Ruth Park’s “the huge Harp in the South. It’s wonderful!” And she may also later review Marjorie Barnard’s The Persimmon Tree, which was her original intention. I’ll repost or guest post those when they come up.

Sue, last I counted, was at page 82 of an Elizabeth Harrower (20pp last weekend, 2 per day during the week and 50 on Sunday) and I’ll repost that too. All posts/reviews are added to my AWW Gen 3 Page, of course, and any you review during the coming year(s) I will mention as I see them or you bring them to my attention.

I had been thinking about Gen 0 for next year – writers like Mary Wollstonecraft and George Sand say, who may have influenced the thinking and writing of our Gen 1 – but I will give in to the momentum generated by this week and go on to AWW Gen 4. We will say, for now anyway, women writers of the 1960s, 70s and 80s and work on a proper definition during the year. This is the period when Modernism gives way to Post-Modernism, not well understood by me or by many writers – who fall back on the formulas of books about the book being written, novelists in their own novels, and the fashion of Magic Realism.

Thank you again for your participation. If I have missed any reviews, or you have older reviews I haven’t included in the AWW Gen 3 Page, let me know. I really feel like I have missed at least one and for that you have my heartfelt apology.

Now, 10 minutes later (10 minutes after posting, that is) I remember. The Resident Judge reviewed Say No to Death, Dymphna Cusack (and referenced this Week) and late last year she wrote up a life of Olive Pink – a truly Independent Woman in the Outback in the 1940s. Links in the list above.

Look out for Lisa’s Indigenous Literature Week (July) and Eleanor Dark Week (August), Brona’s AusReading month (November). Is November MARM (Margaret Atwood Reading Month) again? I will try and be better prepared. What have I missed? I was going to have a little dig at Emma’s love of north western USA crime novels, but here’s something a little different – a six week course on writing detective fiction in Wisconsin (here).

Addendum (2): What have I missed? Kim/Reading Matters is hosting Southern Cross Crime Month (here) in March for Aust and NZ crime fiction, AND she is right now writing up a review of Dorothy Hewett’s Bobbin’ Up. Look for it during the coming week.

29 thoughts on “Invasion Day, 2021

  1. Haha Bill I think the main accolades should go to Btona as three of my five were reposts.

    I love your calculations of my reading Harrower but I did manage a bit more the last couple of days so am now about double what you estimated!


    • That’s true about Brona – three substantial books in seven days. Following on from her first, we need to do more to promote Eve Langley (Bron is now top of DuckDuckGo. You and I have been relegated to second page, behind multiple entries for real estate in Eve Langley St, Franklin ACT).

      You and Jess can race to be next up (I suspect Jess may be in the lead).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you both for the kind words! But I should just clarify that I started reading Han back in Nov last year, My Love Must Wait in mid Dec and I’m still reading The Pea-Pickers very slowly.

        On a completely different matter, we have been discussing alternative search engines at home & with friends in recent weeks, and you’ve just reminded me that DuckDuckGo is the one that came up with the most recommendations from widely different people and age groups.


      • Bron, I like DuckDuckGo well enough, apart from the name. G*%#* sometimes comes up with better answers, though it’s a long time since I checked. And it remembers ALL your searches, which can be helpful, but also incredibly creepy. I’ve had DDG as my default search engine (in Firefox), on all my devices, for more than a year now, and it does the job.
        We’re in the same position now, with internet companies, as we were a century or a century and a half ago when the railways and the oil companies were unregulated oligopolies and it’s time it was stopped!
        And the way we so meekly allow 100% surveillance of our location, spending and opinions fills me with horror.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Quite a few reviews from Gen 3 coming at us the past week or so. Kept my mailbox flowing. I think Gen 4 might be interesting too. I like those 3 decades of books. Might have to see what is on my shelves. 🐧🇦🇺


  3. Thanks for the mention. I enjoyed Lantana Lane.
    Before you start reading north east US crime fiction, there’s Kim’s Southern Cross Crimz fiction month in March.
    And the #1936Club in April.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoy reading all your posts as I do love the Aussie classics and have read many of those mentioned. I usually participate in your special weeks, but rarely blog because I find writing takes up too much time that I could otherwise spend reading. This week I did read Christina Stead’s ‘The Man Who Loved Children’, for the first time, and found it astounding – such amazing insight into complex relationships, but what awful parents!
    Also, on the Australia Day theme, I have been amazed and gratified over the years to see the renewed interest in Australian languages – way back in the early 70s I studied Linguistics at ANU, where we had a very enthusiastic professor (Bob Dixon) who was doing his best to get as many of the indigenous languages recorded as he could, as they were dying out so fast and there was little interest in the general community. We were all very enthusiastic back then but it has been a very long, slow slog. Bob would be proud, especially of the fact that the changes have often come from the communities themselves.


    • Well you’re an enthusiastic commenter and there’s few enough of those. Let me know if you do write up any book by (or about) an Australian Woman Writer and I’ll link them to the appropriate page. Which leads to .. I’d better open a Gen 4 page sooner rather than later, it’s going to take me ages to link to all the reviews already done.
      I don’t know how it’s going in other states but here in WA I imagine that there are quite a number of ‘living’ languages. I’m sure the effort is being made to write them down. Language, I understand, is very fragmented in the Kimberley.
      In the south west the predominate language is Noongar, but there were/are 14 languages under that heading. You can learn ‘Noongar’ in Perth, how much preservation work has been done on the others I don’t know, and I don’t know either how different they are.


    • I like your ‘needless to say’ as I thought Hewett might have a tendency to be didactic. She’d dropped off my radar but I am really looking forward now to what you have to say.


      • I really enjoyed it as a portrait of Sydney at a specific period in time and of the working class … it’s flawed and some of it is repetitive… but the intro published in this novel by Hewett decades after she wrote the book explains what she wanted to achieve with it and I think she was successful. I’ll try to review it on the weekend…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Lately, I’ve been reading more modern Aussie lit, but I seem to read it outside of the proper read-along times! I’m currently on The Weekend by Charlotte Woods, recommended by Sue, and will read Lantana Lane, recommended by Emma.


    • Read-alongs are just an excuse to do what you might eventually have done anyway. Though I think Gen 1 in particular introduced readers to books they might not otherwise have considered. I’m really happy for you to be reading Australian (and for the Americans that you direct me to). I’m doubly happy that Emma in France has reintroduced Lantana Lane back into the reading discussion.
      I look forward to your reviews of both books and of course I will provide a link to your LL review from my AWW Gen 3 page


  6. Things got slow at work, so I was perusing the news and came across a New York Times article about Invasion day. In it, they write:

    “Another protester, Emily Hart, 11, said she hoped more of her peers would get involved in the protests. ‘We need to acknowledge this is not our land,’ she said.”

    When I read Hearing Maud, I noticed that Jessica White also acknowledged that Australia is not her land because it belongs to another group. We so do not have that mindset in the U.S. People see colonization as bad in a very general sense, but we don’t seem to care much about the indigenous populations here, possibly because in some places they’re quite small? I’m not sure. I know there were some news stories at the beginning of the pandemic about indigenous populations suffering more because they are prone to live in houses without plumbing (easy access to water to wash hands) with lots of residents (more than a dozen). There was also more attention when the Keystone XL pipeline disaster started, though now it’s shut down through an executive order. But in general, Americans are fairly tight-lipped about saying, “This is not my land.”


    • We were lucky here that the British were quite sloppy on the legal side of their colonization. Because they regarded Australia as ’empty’ (the doctrine of Terra Nullius) they did not enter into treaties with the First Nations. Under Common Law, this means that all the land over which there is no specific title still belongs to the original owners.
      I wrote about this years ago in a post – We Were Not Here First.
      The situation between Whites and Blacks is so obviously dysfunctional that people of good will are going back to basics to try and find a way forwards, to a genuine sharing of the land. And one of the components of that is for us to acknowledge “This is not our land”.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Liz. I imagine Ruth Park wouldn’t mind taking second place to Thomas Hardy (just one of many writers I wish I could make time to read all of). If you ever see it, read Ruth Park’s (with her husband D’Arcy Niland) memoir of the early years of their marriage in those same crowded suburbs, and the writing of the Harp. It’s both funny and informative.


  7. Whether you aim for 0 or 4, I’ll find something to read and might even do a better job of planning than I did this year. So I can sympathize with your struggle to keep MARM situated (yes, in November, because her birthday is the 18th of November)…it’s hard to keep all the events in mind and still read other things as well.

    There are similar efforts to refocus attention on what has been known as Canada Day (July 1st) as well–change is hard. (I know you weren’t able to watch, in the wee hours, but Jennifer Lopez sang “This Is Land Is My Land, This Land Is Your Land” at the US inauguration, which also sparked considerable controversy…although not the kind of controversy that the previous administration was known for.)


    • It’ll be 4, though The Professor was so clearly Gen 0 – dealing with the theme The Independent Woman (the main reason Spence et al were so unpopular with male dominated literary establishment) – that I had to say something about it. I’d probably better define 0 and 4 properly in the next couple of months

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s