Document Type

Journal Article


In its broadest context, this paper inspects historical connections between Australia and India under colonialism. It works with the general idea that the heavily textual /literary emphasis of postcolonial studies to date is usefully informed by paying attention to material culture and historical movements. Australian literature is read against/through work on ethnobotany, forest management and anthropology. Murray Bail's novel Eucalyptus suggests an ambiguous treatment of the ‘bush’ model of Australian cultural tradition as constructed in this nation's literature. References to the colonial dissemination of eucalyptus plants across the globe hint at unspoken stories and position modern Australia as both national-local and global. These references prompt an investigation of the history and tensions of introducing eucalypts to India, initially in the Nilgiri region of Madras Presidency, revealing the relative silence from the South in the general context of Subaltern Studies historicizing. In turn, the details of the Nilgiri story reflect on the novel, exposing its reprocessing of settler myths and silencing of Aboriginal alternatives.