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WHY? The History Behind the Images
But What's the Answer? Is It All Lies? Truth?
The Lonely Australian Dream - A Sample Speech
Australian Image - What's All That About?
WHY? The History Behind the Images



An Urban Place

Australia has always been heavily urbanised. Britain, Europe and the US started as places with lots of people living on farms and plantations, but then forming cities as ships started to export goods around the world. When "Australia" was settled by Europeans, the ships were already very efficient, as were the farmers. This country didn't need so many to go out of the towns and cities to farm. So, Australia has always been an urban nation, where most of the people live in spots on coastlines.

European Cities Down Under

These towns and cities had buildings designed by Europeans, and so Australian towns and cities didnt look much different from the European towns. This didnt bother the first European settlers, who thought of Australia as different "as the moon" and a bit dangerous. They wanted cities to look like European ones. This was especially the case with Melbourne, which had more of a European climate.

Nice, conservative European Melbourne

A Desire to be Unique

However, when more and more people in Australia were born here, more wanted to be "unique" from Europe. So, they started to look for differences. The cities were no different, so the artists and poets went to the "bush", which was different to everywhere else in the world. That's why the Heidelberg School (Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Charles Conder, etc) painted the bush in their Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg, and the city journalist A.B. Paterson wrote about the bush in his poetry.

McCubbin : Man Alone in Bush

A Desire to Break Away from Parents

Ned Kelly was a legend in the 19th Century because he spoke out against the "parents" of Australia, the British. He linked in with a desire to be free of these parents. This was an Irish desire at the start of the colony, but it was getting louder. Despite the fact he was a robber and little else did not matter to the legend. He is a legend for the same reason as the swagman next to the Billabong.

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