Like Nothing on this Earth: a Literary History of the Wheatbelt

Tony Hughes-d'Aeth     Recommended by Alan    

As much a history of the wheatbelt as it is a literary history.

During the twentieth century, the southwestern corner of Australia was cleared for intensive agriculture. In the space of several decades, an arc from Esperance to Geraldton, an area of land larger than England, was cleared of native flora for the farming of grain and livestock. Today, satellite maps show a sharp line ringing Perth. Inside that line, tan-coloured land is the most visible sign from space of human impact on the planet. Where once there was a vast mosaic of scrub and forest, there is now the Western Australian wheatbelt. Hughes-d’Aeth examines the creation of the wheatbelt through its creative writing. Some of Australia’s most well-known and significant writers – Facey, Cowan, Hewett, Davis, Jolley, and Kinsella – wrote about their experience of the wheatbelt. Each gives insight into the human and environmental effects of this massive-scale agriculture.

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