Vol 35, No 1 (2008)

Country Matters


Cover Page
The haunting and evocative image we selected for the cover of this issue “Country Matters” emblematises the multiple ways that the themes of this issue — country, landscape and identity — resonate for different Australians. The challenge of finding a single image to represent the many significations of “country” that are taken up in this issue was a significant one, but the cover image we finally selected spoke to us clearly of the regional connotations we sought to convey: that is, the photograph seemed to us to be first and foremost quintessentially North Queensland. On first glance the black and white photograph appears to represent an old-fashioned portrait of a settler and his child implanted somewhat forcefully and literally in the land. Yet, this is a recent photograph, taken in 1983, documenting the protests against the logging of the Daintree Forest. It conveys how the present is often haunted by the past, particularly in colonial and postcolonial settler Australia. To us, this made the image doubly pertinent, unifying themes from both the past and present, showing how Australians relate to the land: from environmental concerns to a sense of a shared or fractious history shaped by the land and the region. Many of the articles, stories, and poems in this issue contemplate how Australians identify with the landscape that shapes them.