Review of Like Nothing on this Earth: A Literary History of the Wheatbelt, by Tony Hughes-d’Aeth

Abstract

In this lengthy and ambitious work, Tony Hughes-d’Aeth employs an ‘event/witness’ model to relate the history of the wheatbelt, a portion of Western Australia consisting of approximately 50 million acres (3). Hughes-d’Aeth has a very keen interest in this region, a gigantic cleared space where all the native bush was cut down in two periods of avid assault on the natural and primordial landscape that had existed for some 40,000 years or more and inhabited by Indigenous people.

In this lengthy and ambitious work, Tony Hughes-d’Aeth employs an ‘event/witness’ model to relate the history of the wheatbelt, a portion of Western Australia consisting of approximately 50 million acres (3) Hughes-d’Aeth has a very keen interest in this region, a gigantic cleared space where all the native bush was cut down in two periods of avid assault on the natural and primordial landscape that had existed for some 40,000 years or more and inhabited by Indigenous people. During the years 1900 to 1930 approximately 17 million acres went under the plough, and from 1950 to 1970, another 20 million acres were turned into agricultural gold. Wheat reigned supreme, and the native inhabitants, the Noongar people, had to go elsewhere – seventeen Indigenous groups were displaced from their immemorial lands. Some hung on as workers, but in the main wheat farmers inhabited the vacated land.

Hughes-d’Aeth claims in the title…

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Published 5 July 2019 in Volume 34, No. 1.. Subjects: Natural environment - Literary portrayal, Western Australia, Western Australian literature & writers.

Cite as: Graham, Don. ‘Review of Like Nothing on this Earth: A Literary History of the Wheatbelt, by Tony Hughes-d’Aeth.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 34, no. 1, 2019. https://doi.org/10.20314/als.e487f5777e.