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well, i finished the Ash Range.

it was a very dry, passionless thing, i thought. yes, i can see how supervisor b thought it might be interesting to my thesis, but at the same time, this is not what i want to do. i do not want to get stuck talking about the history of sydney--this is not what i think about when i think about sydney. i want, more than anything, to present the now, the present, the what i live in.

anyhow, a brief rundown of the Ash Range.

divided into 12 chapters, beginning with stars, duggan chronicles the formation of gippsland, from the aboriginal dreamtime, to the mapping of the mountains in the chapter maps, the rise of the gold rush which set up towns in gold mountains, the further formations of small towns, an myth that existed about aborigines kidnapping a white woman and which soured relations, but which wasn't true at the same time. it even goes into the bush fires which are really quite common in all parts of australia bush, and ends with perhaps the finest image of the entire book:

'there is a message at the bottom of every glass.
dust blows off the road outside,
and the stars, crux, bunjil, look down
on a telephone booth in the middle of the bush.'

i like that image, it shows the joining of gippsland to the world, the link of larger cities, the arrival of technology, of the future.

but as i said, the book is quite dry. there are no real characters that one can empathize with, and if the reader doesn't find gippsland all that interesting (and lets face it, it's really not that fascinating a place) then you're pretty much behind the eight ball as far as things go.

a city is defined by its people, reflection, original, the people give the city, the land, its character. at least this is what i think.


the Ash Range by laurie duggan, published by pan books in 1987.