Publication Details

Rando, G. (2008). Recent perceptions of rural Australia in Italian and Italian Australian narrative. Flinders University Languages Group Online Review, 3 (3), 72-81.


The publication in 2008 of the English translation of Emilio Gabbrielli’s novel Polenta e Goanna based on Italian migrants in the West Australian goldfields brings into focus the themes of the bush, the outback and migration that since the mid 1850s (Raffaello Carboni, Rudesindo Salvado) have emerged as a constant thread in texts produced by Italian Australian writers. Italian settlement in rural and outback areas of Australia during the late 1800s and early 1900s has remained a largely unsung saga while most Italians migrating to Australia after 1947 ultimately settled in urban areas. Among the few who have written creatively about their experiences even fewer have engaged in themes related to the bush and the outback. Only four narrative writers – Giovanni Andreoni, Giuseppe Abiuso, Ennio Monese and Franko Leoni – have written about non-urban Australia in substantially social realist terms. More recently, this trend had taken a post-modern perspective in a few Italian Australian (Emilio Gabbrielli, Antonio Casella) and Italian writers (Stanislao Nievo, Dario Donati, Paolo Catalano) who depict the Australian outback as providing a solution to the protagonists’ life quest and promote a discourse on nature as a dynamic, positive and vital element that contrasts with man’s static negativism. This paper proposes to explore this latest trend and the resulting temporal and spatial dislocations that arise from the mapping of two overlapping cultural and geographical contexts.