Year

2001

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Hons.)

Department

Faculty of Arts

Abstract

In my search for an Illawarra literary identity, I have annotated nearly 300 works published between 1825 and 1995, including prose fiction, verse, scripts, journals, autobiographies and reminiscences. These texts deal overtly with the Illawarra region, as I define it in this paper. The Illawarra which emerges from these texts began as an idyllic yet threatening wilderness which was eventually transformed by the colonising process. It was seen variously during its period of subjugation as a rich site of natural resources, a place for pioneering adventure, a sanctuary away from the decay of Sydney, and a focus of parochial attitudes. Through the early decades of the twentieth century, writers were looking back nostalgically at what had been lost during colonisation, and they attempted to recreate the past in their works. By the second half of the twentieth century, the early pioneers had evolved into national and international industrialists whose production plants, mines and factories sat uncomfortably amidst a scenic tourist destination. The works in the annotated bibliography at the end of this paper reflect the evolution of the Illawarra region. The later pieces offer fragmented, personalised views of the Illawarra, mirroring the confusing array of cultural artifacts the region has become.

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