peteg's blog - noise - books - 2008 01 05 GriffithReview9

Griffith Review #9: Up North: Myths, Threats & Enchantment

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This is a great topic for a Griffith Review, and for the most part the articles are up to their usual excellent standard. (I bought this one a while ago at half-price from UNSW Bookshop, lucky me.) For the most part, excepting some highly suspect fiction and a "debate" piece that lacks any kind of rejoinder.

I particularly enjoyed:

  • Peter Stanley's Threat made manifest, on the bombing of Darwin in World War II.
  • Peter Spearritt and Michele Helmrich's photojounalistic essay An enduring furphy documenting the exhibition Defending the north: Queensland in the Pacific war.
  • David Malouf's The exotic at home, about his journeying to the far north in the 1950s.
  • Murray Sayle's Even further north, is perhaps the article most in tune with the overarching theme of "the north".
  • Creed C. O'Hanlon's In ancient wakes describes a curious and welcomely out-of-place voyage around the north of the British Isles.
  • Matthew Condon's Of the bomb is an excellent personal memoir of his researches for a piece on Wilfred Burchett.
  • Bob Wurth's Curtin's hand of friendship, extended to Tatsuo Kawai, was a nice complement to the ABC's Curtin.
  • Dewi Anggraeni's The pain of disrespect, about the public relationship between Australia and Indonesia on the big issues of the day, is a good beginning but way too short.
  • Andrew McMillan's We're all eccentrics here reports on the lives of the Larrimah, N.T. locals.
  • Megan Lewis took some great photos for her series Conversations with the mob.
  • Robyn Davidson's Return of the camel lady, a memoir of her time travelling overland from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean and her relationship with the indigenous peoples is truly excellent.
  • Mark McKenna's A symbolic life tells of his inspiration by and brief relationship with Gatjil Djerrkura. The text of that speech can be found here.
  • Christine Zorzi's The delegation tells of how she and her student cohort housed the indigenous ambassadors from Far North Queensland when they were negotiating with the the State Government.
  • Phil Brown engages in some contemporary Henry Lawson-ism in his memoir Our man up there, about the artist Gil Jamieson from Monto, Queensland.
  • These people, by Lucy Palmer, recounts her experiences amongst the ex-pats and locals in Port Moresby.

So yeah, most of them were good.