'Just like England', a colonial settler landscape



Publication Details

Willis, I. (2016). 'Just like England', a colonial settler landscape. ISAA Review, 15 (2), 5-18.

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Independent Scholars Association of Australia Inc.


Early European settlers were the key actors in a place-making exercise that constructed an English-style landscape aesthetic on the colonial stage in the Cowpastures district of New South Wales. The aesthetic became part of the settler colonial project and the settlers' aim of taking possession of territory involving the construction of a cultural ideal from familiar elements of home in the 'Old Country'. The new continent, and particularly the bush, had the elements of the Gothic with its grotesque and the demonic, and the landscape aesthetic was one attempt to counter these forces. Settlers used the aesthetic to assist the creation of a new narrative on an apparently blank slate and in the process dispossessed and displaced the Indigenous occupants. The new colonial landscape was characterised by English place names, English farming methods and English settlement patterns, with only cursory acknowledgement of Indigenous occupation.

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