An important insight I’ve gained in the first week of studying Australian literature is how nature can have a direct impact on humans. Writers such as David Malouf and Judith Wright express their deep feelings and appreciation they have for the natural environment of Australia in their texts. A passage from Fly Away Peter written by Malouf in 1982, utilises descriptors to convey kinesthetic imagery to the reader: “he had been overwhelmed by the touch of the air on his skin – too warm”, as well as auditory imagery: “bird-notes, grass-stems chaffing and fretting in the breeze”. This indicates a deep sense of appreciation for the natural, unmade qualities of Australia, as it can allow one to become more mindful of their surroundings, which gave me a better understanding of how nature can affect people in dynamic ways, including ones state of mind.

Judith Wright implements her admiration for natural qualities of Australia in her poem, Rockface from The Shadow of Fire: Ghazals (1985). “I’ve no wish to chisel things into new shapes. The remnant of a mountain has its own meaning”, the word choice of ‘chisel’ shows her criticisms towards the utilitarians who were exploiting and destructing the land when they invaded Australia. The statement of the mountain having its own meaning supports her personal view of unrecognised beauty within nature, as humanity has the tendency to alter and transform natural parts of the world for profit.

Marcus Clarke’s famous essay, ‘Adam Lindsay Gordon’ (1876), also explores the contrasting attitudes towards the Australian landscape, as the early depiction of Australian landscape wasn’t described to be beautiful and was seen as a wasteland. Clarke uses a biblical reference to Esau, who preferred the natural wilderness as opposed to the material aspects of society: “Esau loved his heritage of desert sand better than all the bountiful richness of Egypt”. This emphasises the importance of not obsessing over superficial things in life and encourages the reader to not only look into modern infrastructure but to become aware of the natural landscapes outside cities and appreciate its unmade features.


Photograph Citation

Gray, Mark. Desert Moon. N.d. The Australian Collection, Uluru, Northern Territory – Australia. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.