Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
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NEWSLETTER NO. 21         SPRING 2000

Two Books by Center Scholars Appear
Two books on Australian topics by scholars affiliated with the Clark Center are being published. A book by Robin W. Doughty, Professor of Geography at UT-Austin, The Eucalyptus: A Natural and Commercial History of the Gum Tree, has just been published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Ross Terrill's new book, The Australians: The Way We Live Now, will by published by Random House in July. Terrill has been a visiting professor in UT-Austin's Depart-ment of Government for the past three spring semesters. 

DOUGHTY'S BOOK tells the story of how the eucalyptus spread from its native ranges in Australia to diverse habitats throughout the world. Long regarded as an exotic novelty and a popular ornamental in European botanical and residential gardens, the eucalyptus has become, especially since World War II, the favored tree of the global pulpwood industry and agroforesters.
Doughty discusses various reasons for the tree's popularity. They include its aesthetic qualities, its purported malaria-countering char-acter in swamps and bogs, and its ability to adapt and mature quickly as a source of timber and firewood. The largest part of his book is focused  however, on important environmental, socio-economic, and political issues surrounding the eucalyptus. In Latin America and Asia, the proliferation of eucalypt plantations has fueled a heated debate about their environmental impact and the social consequences of encouraging ex-pansion on private and community lands.

TO COINCIDE with Australia's bicentenary in 1988, Ross Terrill published The Australians, in which he juxtaposed his experiences of growing up in Australia during the 1950s and 1960s with the accelerating changes that took place during the 1970s and 1980s. In The Australians: The Way We Live Now, Terrill takes stock of how Australians are coping with globalization and much else at the new millennium's outset.

His book is based on wide travel and extensive interviews in Australia during the past two years. Terrill was able to discuss the country's changing contours with John Howard, Kim Beazley, and many other political, business, and cultural leaders, but the book also captures the views of a cross-section of Australians in diverse rural and urban, work and leisure settings. The portrait that results is vivid and laced with acute political and cultural observations, as one would expect from a scholar who has lived in and written about Australia, the United States, and China in more or less equal parts over the course of his unique trans-Pacific life and career.

Mertz Collection To Be Sold

The largest and richest collection of modern Australian paintings located outside Australia has for the past quarter century been among the many art collections held by UT-Austin. The collection was assembled for the American businessman, Harold Mertz, in the mid-1960s by Kym Bonython, the illustrious Adelaide art and jazz connoisseur and bon vivant. (See his memoir Ladies' Legs and Lemonade for a fascinating portrait of post-World War II Australia.) After underwriting a tour of the collection around American galleries, Mr. Mertz donated it to UT-Austin in 1973.

The collection contains 148 paintings by artists whom Bonython deemed the most promising when he put the collection together in the mid-sixties. Consequently, it contains paintings by William Dobell, Russell Drysdale, Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, Brett Whiteley, Fred Williams, Albert Tucker, James Gleeson, John Brack, Ian Fairweather, Bob Dickerson, John Passmore, John Coburn, Lloyd Rees, Clifton Pugh, Sam Fulbrook, Jeffrey Smart, plus some 66 others. Because the Jack S. Blanton Museum of of Art at UT-Austin has long suffered from a lack of space in which to display even a modest part of the 12,5000 pieces it owns, the Mertz Collection has rarely been exhibited. Visiting Australians interested in the Collection have had to view it in storage.

After lengthy deliberations, the University and Blanton Museum have decided that this not an acceptable state of affairs and that the rich Mertz Collection should be back in Australia where it can be seen and enjoyed by art lovers. Several Australian auction houses have expressed interest in bringing this about, and it is expected that the collection will return to Australia by the end of this year.


Message from the Director

Since the Clark Center began in 1988-89, Robert Ross has worked hard to make it a prime North American locus for the study of Australian literature and culture. As anyone with the slightest familiarity of Australian Studies knows, Robert has been the distinguished and tireless editor of Antipodes for the premier journal's entire existence. Virtually the first action by the Clark Center was its appointment of Robert as a Research Associate. This enabled the Center to draw on his unequaled knowledge of Australian literature and his pivotal place in the American Association for the Study of Australian Literature (AAALS). Among much else, Robert's association with the Center was the primary raison d'être for two memorable AAALS national meetings in Austin, it facilitated the regular appearance of Antipodes, and it also resulted, not incidentally, in the score of Yackers we've produced, all of which have been designed and edited by Robert.

Much more than this, Robert has been a close personal friend and colleague all these years. The many readers who know him will readily appreciate how his wry humor has enlivened many a day in the Center and how his acute judgments of the Good, Bad, and just plain Ugly in literary and cultural matters have saved us from many a misstep.

Robert's long association with the Center will end formally, but we certainly hope not informally, this spring. This is an occasion, however, on which to thank Robert in the strongest and most heartfelt terms for all he's done to help the Center grow. I'll forever be grateful for Robert's many accomplishments in Australian Studies and for all the good times we've had together.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Center's participation in this year's meetings of the Australian Studies Association of North America (ASANA), which took place in Ottawa at the end of February. Graduate students and faculty affiliated with the Center presented a clutch of papers, and Frances Cushing, the Center's administrative assistant who was born and raised in Canada, came along to make sure that none of us Texans thought the Rideau Canal's thin ice suitable for skating. Next year's ASANA meeting, scheduled for the last weekend in February 2001, will take place at Georgetown University's Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies.

Desley Deacon and I were in Washington during part of our Spring Break. We were pleased to have drinks with the new Australian Ambassador, Michael Thawley, and his wife Deborah. I had a chance to talk with another Embassy newcomer, Teresa Mewing, who will be a charming and energetic Cultural Affairs Officer. We welcome all three to the Australian Studies effort in this part of
the world.                                                                                                     
 --John Higly                                                                                                  



The December 1999 issue of Antipodes is devoted to Australian film. The issue was guest-edited by Professor Adi Wimmer, a scholar in the field from Klagenfurt University in Austria. The issue contains several original essays by international scholars focusing in particular on the way film makers have made use of literary works and how they have reworked them for the screen.

Some of the widely-known films under discussion include The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Sum of Us, and Oscar and Lucinda. The writers have taken a variety of approaches to analyze the appeal and significance of the Australian film industry. The issue is handsomely illustrated with photographs of the various movies.

In addition, the issue offers numerous new poems by writers such as Thomas Shapcott and Peter Porter. Of special interest are two previously unpublished short stories satirizing modern academia by the well-known Australian writer, Michael Wilding.

Antipodes' highly-praised reviews section provides an opportunity to catch up on what is new in Australian fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.



Shannon Bradford, a doctoral candidate in UT-Austin's Theatre & Dance Department, returned in January from a year's study of the Australian Theatre of the Deaf (ATOD) as a Fulbright Scholar in Sydney. The ATOD is the only professional theatre of its kind in Australia, and it performs movement-based works in schools, festivals, and artistic venues across the country.

A theatre director and choreographer, Shannon specializes in work with deaf, blind, and other mobility-impaired performers. "What drew me to ATOD was the company's unique style of performance," she says. "Rather than relying on Australian Sign Language or spoken English to communicate meaning in performances, the ATOD develops gastrula works that are accessible to both deaf and hearing audiences."

After her year of research on the ATOD, which included touring Australia with it, Shannon is now writing what promises to be a highly novel dissertation. "Treating such a visual and kinesthetic topic really requires a multimedia approach," she explains, "so I'm generating my dissertation in digital format that will mix text, visual images, graphics, and video."

Shannon plans to design a version of her dissertation to be used as a source of information about ATOD for schools, Deaf theatres and other Deaf organizations, as well as the general public, in Australia and the United States.

Peter Beilharz, professor of sociology at LaTrobe University and current holder of Harvard University's Chair in Australian Studies, visited Austin at the start of April to give a guest lecture in Ross Terrill's course on Australian Politics. Accompanied by his family, Beilharz traveled from Austin to Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, to participate in its "Australia and New Zealand Color Week."

Malcolm Gillies, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at University of Adelaide, met in late March with John Higley and Jerry Wilcox, Director of UT-Austin's Study Abroad Office, to further the negotiation of a new student exchange program between UT-Austin, St. Edwards University in Austin, and the three Adelaide universities.

Kellie Ashley, on leave from the Biological Sciences Library at the University of Queensland, has been working part-time in UT-Austin's Main Library this spring and has met several times with Frances Cushing at the Center

Don Smart, Professor of Education at Murdoch University, and his wife Nonie will make Austin and the Clark Center their base for work while in the U.S. during May and June.

The traffic of students and faculty between UT-Austin's prestigious Law School and Faculties of Law at several Australian universities increases each academic year. This year half a dozen Australian students have been studying in Austin, while roughly that number of UT-Austin law students have been in Australia

In January Michael Chesterman, from the Faculty of Law at University of New South Wales visited law faculty in Austin and gave an informal talk about the difficulties created by prejudicial publicity that is often given to pending trials.

Texans go to ASANA in Ottawa
A half dozen Clark Center representatives attended the recent ASANA meetings in Ottawa, which were organized by the Association's current president, Kim Nossal, at McMaster University, and, as always, Lisa Murphy, at the Australian Education Office in Washington.

Ross Terrill opened this year's meetings with a brilliant depiction of Australia at the year 2000, drawing on his forthcoming book, The Australians: The Way We Live Today. Another eminent scholar, Professor Peter Beilharz from LaTrobe University, who is this year's holder of the Australian Studies Chair at Harvard, gave the conference's keynote address, titled "Australian Civilization and its Discontents."

Three UT-Austin doctoral students presented papers pertaining to their Australia-focused dissertations. Greg Brown gave a paper about the Croatian diaspora in Melbourne; Rhonda Evans Case presented a paper, "Queen or President? The Republic Referendum," that she and John Higley have .co-authored; George Purcell presented a paper assessing long-term trends in US and Australian trade flows and policies.

Frances Cushing and John Higley participated in a special Board meeting that took stock of the ASANA's trajectory and plans for the next year. The Board took pleasure in the strong Canadian participation in this year's conference, at the same time that it worried about the sparse participation of American scholars, something that Board members will try to rectify in preparing for next year's meetings at the Georgetown Center in Washington.

Ever since the closing of the Houston Consulate General in the mid-1990s, Houston business leaders have sought to restore an Australian government pres-ence in a city with wide commercial ties to Australia.

This has resulted in the February appointment of an Honorary Consul, Ms. Nana Booker. She heads Booker-Hancock Associates, a marketing and public relations company specializing in work with Houston's international community.
The new Australian Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Thawley, visited Houston at the end of March to install Ms. Booker officially and meet with the active Australian-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) in Houston.

The AACC in Houston is newly headed by Mr. Ken Barton, an executive in the Houston office of Pioneer Ltd., one of Australia's 30 largest companies. He takes over the AACC presidency from Mr. Neville Henry, who did much to give the organization its current robustness.

Clark-Center-on-the- Move

Desley Deacon, who has recently been appointed director of Women's Studies at UT-Austin, was principal discussant last December at a conference of New Zealand scholars seeking to recapture the social history of the Dunedin working class.

In December, John Higley spoke on the changing Australian political situation at a Washington symposium on Australian and US policies in the Pacific region.

Robert Ross participated in the sections devoted to Australian literature sponsored by the AAALS at the 1999 Modern Language Association Convention, 27-30 December in Chicago. He will participate in the Fifteenth Annual Conference of the AAALS, scheduled for 27-30 April in New York City.

In early March, Ross Terrill appeared at the University of Nebraska at Kearney as part of the Australian Distinguished Speakers Program. He gave a lecture analyzing American and Australian views of China.

In early April, Desley Deacon and John Higley gave four lectures about the changing Australian scene as part of an "Australia and New Zealand Color Week" for students of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

Faculty Publications / John Higley
"Transitions and Elites." In Dilemmas of Transition: The Hungarian Experience, eds. A. Braun and Z. Barany, 47-68. Boulder CO: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.

"Elites and Democratic Consolidation in Korea and Taiwan." In Democratization and Globalization in Korea: Assessments and Prospects, eds. C. Moon and J. Mo, 89-110. Seoul: Yonsei University Press (co-authored with J. Choi, T. Huang, and T. Lin).

"Elites in the Study of Consolidated Democracy." In Power and Social Structure: Essays in Honor of Wlodzimierz Wesolowski, eds. A. Jasinka-Kania, M. Kohn, and K. Slomczynski, 117-33. Warsaw: Warsaw University Press, 1999. (Co-authored with J. Pakulski).

Elites after State Socialism. Boulder, CO: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. 250 pp. (Co-edited with György Lengyel).

YACKER Is published in the fall & spring by The Edward A. Clark Center for Australian & New Zealand Studies,
Harry Ransom Center 3.362
The University of Texas, Austin, TX 78713-7219
Telephone: 512/471-9607 Fax : 512/471-8869 email:
This Newsletter was not printed with state funds.

  • Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies

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