Understanding Cultural Landscapes Symposium, 11-15 July 2005
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This Symposium provided opportunities for staff and research students at Flinders to explore the issues raised by the emerging scholarly interest in Cultural Landscapes. This Symposium was designed not as a formal conference, but as an intensive and productive working environment.
Paul Carter (Professor of the Faculty of Architecture Building & Planning at the University of Melbourne) was the Symposium's special guest.
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ItemThe Adelaide Hills Face Zone as a Cultural Landscape. [abstract].( 2005)Landscape archaeology is a recent approach employed in historical and indigenous archaeology that addresses the interaction of cultural and environmental variables associated with human landscape use (Yamin and Bescherer 1996; David and Lourandos 1999). This theoretical paradigm was derived from earlier systems-based approaches to human landscape use developed in relation to settlement pattern and human ecology studies (Clark 1952; Willey 1953, 1956; Steward 1955). Whereas many earlier approaches to human landscape use emphasised the natural environment as a prime mover, landscape archaeology focuses on the strong interactions between culture (i.e. learned behaviour, norms) and natural environments. In relation to historical archaeology, the cultural “baggage” that colonists bring with them has a major impact on how they view, interpret, and use new territories. After three years of archaeological and historical studies it is argued that Adelaide’s Hills Face Zone is one of the best preserved relict landscapes representing the era of European/English expansion and colonisation during the eighteen and nineteenth centuries.
ItemCultural landscapes of a tourism destination: South Australia's Barossa Valley. [abstract].( 2005)Alternative ways in which the cultural landscape of South Australia’s Barossa Valley is represented are examined briefly to demonstrate the difference in cultural landscape representations in recent tourism marketing print materials of the region, and in a large-scale textile artwork completed by a group of thirty nine Barossa women in 1999. The paper will compare cultural landscape elements included in this piece of community art work with the types of images included in recent tourism promotional material for the Barossa region.
Item"A projection part of the main": an Elliston palimpsest. [abstract].( 2005)This paper considers a number of ways of reading a particular cultural land/seascape at Elliston, on South Australia’s west coast. At first glance it may surprise some to hear a clifftop with a clearly defined track described as cultural, because cultural landscapes are usually regarded as places that live in the imaginations of a community, as repositories of shared notions about cultural value. They are usually both sites and sights. Cultural landscapes are usually domesticated in some way, reconstructed by human intervention over considerable periods of time as a consequence of complex human landuse and lived practices, and often representing an agrarian or pastoral ideal that summons up ideas of a golden age. Such landscapes usually reveal evidence of human intervention shaped not only by cultural practice but also by aesthetic judgment, and are often designed to maintain a way of life by conserving specific features of that landscape. How can a cliff in a littoral zone, a ‘projecting part of the main’, reveal evidence of human intervention, where any evidence of occupation is hard to find?
ItemPlacing the post in the landscape of colonial memories: revisiting the memory of a colonial frontier. [abstract].( 2005)Paul Fox closes his exploration of the institutionalisation of memory within museums with the question 'do Australians inhabit a postcolonial world or a landscape of colonial memories?' [Fox, 1992, 317] The question forms for him out of an analysis of the ways in which the orderings of aboriginality and space of the colonial museum continued to haunt Australian cultural imaginaries in the early 1990s. Fox traces how colonial museums ordered their knowledge always in reference to the imperial centre, accomplishing a kind of double colonialism – reinforcing 'the European acquisition of space' while ensuring that, for the 'former peripheral city of empire ... memory exists in and belongs to a system of knowledge created elsewhere' [ibid, pp. 308-9]. It seems to me Fox posed his question to invite a response affirming the colonial quality of Australian memory. However, considering his question in 2005, ‘post’ the debates over race, reconciliation, and history that dominated the turn of century, elicits a more uncertain response in me. This paper explores these questions through a study of the social memory of a colonial frontier in the southeast of South Australia. Drawing on Healy’s conception of social memory as a 'network of performances' in which 'relationships between past and present are performed' (1995, p. 5) the paper focuses on the ways in which one colonial ‘memory’ of the frontier, Mrs Christina Smith’s book "The Booandik Tribe of South Australian Aborigines: a Sketch of their Habits, Customs, Legends, and Language", first published in 1880, is performed in two contemporary renderings of the social memory of colonialism: the Lady Nelson Discovery Centre, in Mount Gambier, South Australia, and the writings of Mrs Heather Carthew, great granddaughter of Mrs Smith.
ItemReturning to Memory Cove. [abstract].( 2005)In 2000 I was lucky enough to have been taken in tow by Wik elder Silas Wolmby for a walk around his country near Cape Keerweer on the Cape York Peninsula. I realised that if I was to be able to reach a deep understanding of Silas’s stories, of which I had heard only a tiny part of his repertoire, I would have to spend a lifetime with him. Similarly, to comprehend the Cape Keerweer landscape to the point where I could glide through it, completely at home like Silas, I would have to spend a lifetime there. There is a man whose stories I have been hearing all my life, who has shared his life’s traditions with me, who has schooled me in his sense of the landscape of our home territory, coastal South Australia, and taught me since childhood about his way of moving through it and perceiving it. My father is a seafarer, a navigator, by profession, and I followed in his wake. We are both master mariners. But long before I left home and went to sea he would take me sailing around the gulfs in his small wooden yacht. In this paper I will return to Cape Catastrophe in a boat with my father and hear him tell the story to me again. I will compare this experience with walking beside Silas and hearing his stories. There are similarities and obvious divergences, but reflecting on each casts new light on the other. As I hear this familiar story once again after so many iterations, I will examine the ways it connects me to the landscape, whether it influences my sense of ‘home’ (being in South Australia, or in southern Australia, or perhaps simply being in a boat girt by sea), and how it influences my understanding of my culture: as an Australian, as a whitefella, as an invader, as a seafarer, as a son.
Item"All we see and all we seem..." - Australian Cinema and National Landscape. [abstract].( 2005)In this paper I will argue that Australian feature filmmakers’ uses and depictions of “the Australian landscape” in their cinema have undergone a striking and important transformation since the 1970s, and that this transformation, while reflecting a developing and modulating sense of Australian cultural identity, has also been crucially linked with changes and developments in the Australian film industry itself, changes which relate to Government investment initiatives, increasingly complex production and co-production strategies, and, more recently, off-shore production by major Hollywood studios.