Using literature to tell a history of the Western Australian wheatbelt—20 March 2018

Dr Tony Hughes-d'Aeth, an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded researcher at The University of Western Australia (UWA), has published a literary history of the Western Australian wheatbelt, which draws on the work of some of Australia's most famous writers including A.B.Facey, Dorothy Hewett and Jack Davis.

Speaking about his research in a YouTube video recorded by UWA, Dr Hughes-d'Aeth reflects on the origins of the project, which was funded by the ARC through a 2015 Discovery Projects grant.

"One of the things that drives me personally in my writing and research is my desire to feel at home in a place. And coming to WA in my teenage years.. I was driven by a need to understand where I lived.

"I was intrigued even as a young child by the seeming emptiness of the place, and I became intrigued by what created this extensive world of cleared fields.

"Writers and everyone who lived in the wheat belt were not ignorant of nature, but were very much in contact with it, often in its destruction, but also in its appreciation. What I found really interesting when I was researched the book was how closely and paradoxically those two things existed in someone's mind—appreciation for nature and the destruction of it.

"I was keen in this book to find a particular value that literature does have as a form of record, and literature tells you something very special that other kinds of writing don't necessarily do, and that is how people feel about things," said Dr Hughes-d'Aeth.

Read more about Dr HuHughes-d'Aeth's research in The Conversation.

Image: A view of the Benbubbin-Kellerberrin Road, in the Western Australian wheat belt.
Source: User Bahnfrend, Wikimedia Commons 
CC BY-SA 4.0

Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, March 20, 2018