Vol 37, No 1 (2010)

Islands


Cover Page
A place does not exist, Nettie Palmer believed, until it exists “most formidably on paper”, that is except to the people who lived in those places. Littered around the coast of Australia are some tens of thousands of islands small and large, let alone innumerable islands across the globe. Palmer is making an important point about the representations of islands in the literary imaginary. How many islands do have this kind of representative existence beyond those people and creatures that inhabit them? Are all islands linked powerfully in the public imagination with particular writers or academics? Or do we have to struggle a little here and rather is it that Australia’s islands exist most formidably visually through representation by the tourist and entertainment industries? In Australia, narrators have been telling stories about islands long before paper existed; does each island need its own stories, albeit incomplete, as each island has its own dreaming story towards the Murri sense?