Writing Australian History On-screen: Television and Film Period Dramas "Down Under" reveals the depths of Australian history from convict times to the present day. The essays in this book are thematically driven and take a rounded historical-cultural-sociological-psychological approach in analyzing the various selected productions. In their analyses and interpretations of the topic, the contributors interrogate the intricacies in Australian history as represented in Australian filmic period drama, taken from an Australian perspective. Individually, and together as a body of authors, they highlight past issues that, despite the society’s changing attitudes over time, still have relevance for the Australia of today. In speaking to the subject, the contributing writers show a keen awareness that addressing new areas arising from the humanities is key to learning; and hence to developing an understanding of the Australian culture, the society, and sense of the ever-unfurling flag of an Australian something that is not yet a national identity.
Jo Parnell is Honorary Lecturer in the School of Humanities, Creative industries, and Social Sciences, College of Human and Social Futures at University of Newcastle.
Julie Anne Taddeo is Research Professor in the Department of History at University of Maryland.
Chapter 1. Kings in Grass Castles: The Duracks and Screened Mythology
Chapter 2. “It’s a bastard of a place – takes a bastard to lick it”: Violence, Victimhood, and Nationalism on the Frontier in Luke’s Kingdom (1976), and Against the Wind (1978)
Chapter 3. Love, Lust, and Land Rights in The Naked Country (1985)
Chapter 4. Fisher Queens Versus the White Australia Policy: Challenging Orientalism in Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears, and Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries?
Chapter 5. “It’s the War That Didn’t Suit Me”: Miss Fisher’s Jack Robinson as Emblematic First World War Ex-Serviceman
Chapter 6. Beyond Changi: Australians, Singapore and World War Two Films
Donna Brunero and Leong Yew
Chapyer 7. Labor History in Australian Film and Television: Sunday Too Far Away (1975), and Bastard Boys (2007)
Chapter 8. “I belong to me and no one else”: Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale (2018) Reimagines an Australian Frontier Myth
Kathryn M. Keeble and Emmett H. Redding
Chapter 9. Plus ça change…: Mainstream Representation of Post-war Migrants from They’re a Weird Mob to Ladies in Black
Parnell and Taddeo’s collection is a fascinating exploration of a subject that has provided much enjoyment for audiences, but has previously been neglected by academic scholarship: the history of Australia as represented on its screens. By exploring a number of important period dramas, the essays here uncover key questions about ethnicity, gender and national identity, reflecting on Australia’s past and present, and its diverse and complex population and culture. This book will be a highly valuable resource for students, scholars and interested viewers everywhere.