The sunlit plains extended: Young Australians talk about life in the country

Year: 2002

Author: Gill, Judith, Howard, Sue

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on an ongoing study of young people's understanding of what it means to be Australian. Data is drawn from conversations with children in the upper primary years about what they think about the country they live in and their relationship to it. In this paper we look particularly at the responses from children in remote and rural primary schools for whom the traditional mythology of life in the bush is more of a daily experience than for those from the city schools. However in our investigation of the iconography of Australia through the eyes of children we are able to show that the symbolic representation of country is largely shared by young people regardless of their place of residence. The paper ends by reflecting on the origins of images of contemporary Australia, their longevity and resistance to change and the understandings they perpetuate in the future generation, all of which have profound educational implications.