While walking around the Sydney Harbour area last month I noticed, as I always do, the many plaques honoring writers. The plaques honor writers who were associated in some way with Australia. Some writers only visited or wrote about Australia, but most of them are for Australian writers.
The quote on the plaque is by the Honorable Peter Collins, MP Minister for the Arts.
What we are and how we see ourselves evolves fundamentally from the written and spoken word. The Writers Walk demonstrates that this evolutionary process continues to channel the thought and perceptions, the hopes and the fears of writers who have known this great city and its people.
I chose just four plaques to share this evening and will most likely share others in the future.
The first one is for Robert Hughes. He was a historian and art critic and is best known for writing The Fatal Shore. I have a copy of the book and it is on my to-read list. The book is about the early history of Australia.
Here is the quote from the plaque:
Would Australians have done anything differently if their country had not been settled as the jail of infinite space? Certainly they would. They would have remembered more of their own history.
‘It’s a funning thing’. Jean said. ‘You go to a new country, and you expect everything to be different, and then you find there’s such a lot that stays the same’.
I have also read On the Beach which was set in the aftermath of an atomic war. Now maybe I need to read the other book mentioned on the plaque.
Sydney … was populated by leisured multitudes all in their shirt-sleeves and all picnicking all the day. They volunteered that they were new and young, but would do wonderful things some day.
James A. Michener has a plaque, but not for writing about Australia. He did however visit Australia as well as all the other continents. The plaque mentions his book Tales of the South Pacific which won the Pulitzer Prize and is set close to Australia.
As I saw each plaque I thought about the writings of each author. Some of the authors I did not know, but some of them have been added to my reading list. Especially some of the writers that are not known as well outside of Australia.
I hope that you enjoyed this walk along the Writers Walk.