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Griffith REVIEW 21: Hidden Queensland (Griffith Review)

Julianne Schultz (Editor)

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ISBN 10: 0733322832 / ISBN 13: 9780733322839
Published by ABC Books, 2008
Used Condition: Very Good
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Title: Griffith REVIEW 21: Hidden Queensland (...

Publisher: ABC Books

Publication Date: 2008

Book Condition:Very Good

About this title

Synopsis:

Queensland is the new center of political gravity in Australia. Twenty years ago it was a repressive and corrupt place out of step with the rest of the nation. Hidden Queensland explores the most remarkable transition in Australian political history: in the people, the politics and the policies - and also exposes the lingering impact of secrets. The election of Kevin Rudd as prime minister signalled a momentous change in Australia - political power moved north for the first time. As he said, 'You can take the boy out of Nambour, but you can't take Nambour out of the boy.' This edition explains how this happened and what it means for Australia. The lead essay by Julianne Schultz provides a fresh and comprehensive analysis of how today's leaders and visionaries forged their ideals in the ashes of corruption and conflict. She describes the way networks with radical roots were formed and nurtured in the subtropical heat. This accounting of the recent past - and coincidences that emerge only in hindsight - provides a unique insight into the motivatinos of those now at the epicenter of national power. Behind the utopian dreams - and the weather - which draw record numbers of newcomers to Queensland, there are older narratives and bitter conflicts buried throughout the state. An outstanding collection of writers in this fifth anniversary edition breathe life into these stories, so that they will not be lost to history. Other contributors include John Birmingham, Matt Foley, Stuart Glover, Phil Brown, Craig Munro, Stephen Stockwell, Mark Finnane, Kristina Olsson, Edwina Shaw, Marg O'Donnell, Marilyn McMeniman, Mary-Rose MacColl, Thomas Shapcott, Robyn Sheahan-Bright, Nike Bourke, Will Elliott, Julie Gittus, Michael Wesley, Peter Sutton, Anna Haebich, Paul Turnbull, Trent Dalton, Adam Narnst, Seanna van Halten, Nigel Krauth, Pat Hoffie, Anne Coombs, Ashley Hay, Brett Caldwell, Luke Slatterly. Poems by Anna Krein and John Stephenson.

Review:

In recent times Queensland has developed a reputation as 'an engine of national growth and innovation.' This reputation was boosted by the 2007 election of Queenslander Kevin Rudd as prime minister. In this edition of Griffith REVIEW, a range of contributors explore the evolution of the Australian state once best known 'for its extremes of weather and politics.' Much emphasis is given to Queensland's history of radical political activism. Various contributors discuss the campaigns against the Vietnam War and (some time later) Joh Bjelke-Petersen's conservative government. However, there are also descriptions of this state's artistic and cultural achievements, an account of an adolescent girl's ill-fated sexual dalliances with an older married couple, and a photographic essay on the lives of mentally ill Queensland residents.

I found Edwina Shaw's short story of the 'corrupt' Queensland police force during the 1980s to be the strongest contribution to Hidden Queensland. Shaw creates a vision of a police state that is both nightmarish and totally believable. I was deeply moved by Kristina Olsson's memoir piece entitle A War, An Attic, A Gun, in which Olsson reflects on the heartache her mother faced when her son (Olsson's brother) went missing around the time of Australia's participation in Vietnam. As Olsson observes, her brother was 'of conscriptable age' and their mother 'must have felt the terrible irony of losing him not once but twice. The possibility.'

As a whole, Hidden Queensland offers a fascinating insight into the darker and more complex side of the so-called 'Sunshine State.' --Australian Book Review

Part of what makes it difficult to peg Queensland is that this vastness isn't easily summarised. There are Queenslands, and for the most part Hidden Queensland does well in pointing this out.

These authors write their histories and recollections crackingly well. It s pleasing to see so many pieces in Hidden Queensland devoted to the State s far-flung regions and provincial cities. I don t believe that I've seen a better collection of pieces about regional Queensland. Hidden Queensland does manage to nuance the reader s idea of the State. It s timely, because not only are our favourite sons and daughters taking the reins of the country, but demographic changes are making the State more prominent in the nation's life. It's recommended reading. ----Jason Wilson, NewMatilda.com

Hidden Queensland uncovers many more hiding places than the Fitzgerald inquiry. Reading this book of essays, poems, photos, stories and memoir is like exploring an old house with attics and cellars, secret passages, locked doors and walled gardens. You can happily lose yourself here, discovering surprising and hidden things about the curious state of Queensland. This is a book you can explore for weeks, feeling wonder at every page. ----Sandra Hogan, M/C Reviews

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