Australian politics, society & culture


A guide to the Murray Darling Basin
By Kate Jennings
Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz
By Shane Maloney and Chris Grosz
By Roger McDonald
The dominating men of Normie Powell’s childhood lived on winding dirt roads following the Trout River upstream to its source. Each was a landowner with acres given over to Merino sheep, animals grazed to the brink of starvation while shedding spun gold into bank accounts. The 1960s remained good years after the boom
By Les Murray
Death gets into the suburbs, but sleekturnover highrise keeps it out of mind and wilderness, wrapped in its own deaths, scarcely points us at ours, but furred rusty machines, and greyboards unglazed for heritage or holiday – you can’t truck in enough bricks.Settled country is the land of the dead, 
By Les Murray
Haze went from smoke-blue to beigegradually, after midday. The Inland was passing overhigh up, and between the trees.The north hills and the south hillslost focus and faded away. As the Inland was passing overlungless flies quizzing road killgot clogged with aerial plaster.Familiar roads ended in
By Celina Ribeiro
“I’m going to die,” pants Jess Wright. “Good,” says Mrs Jennings. “Do it quietly.”It is a cold Friday night in central-western New South Wales. The Kinross Wolaroi School indoor pool is the makeshift home of the Orange Icebreakers swim team, and this is their last training session before the winter break. Coach Mrs
By Kerryn Goldsworthy
On a Tuesday in June, only a day or two before it finally began to bucket down, an article appeared on page two of the Adelaide Advertiser headed: “Please adopt a starving goat.” Leesa Lewis, director of the Australian Association for Dairy Goats, was appealing to “city people” for financial help, perhaps in the form
By E.M. Holdsworth
Conversation overheard between two men on Auburn Street, Goulburn:“Didya hear? Council’s lifted the water restrictions from Level 5 to Level 5 extreme.” “What comes after that?”“That’s when you drink your own piss, mate, with a twist of lemon.”Over the last few months politicians of all persuasions have been televised
It's raining at last in the bush, where there is no confidence, only hope.
By John Harms
You should start in a place like Deer Park, where I find myself now, in a hire car so mass-produced that 45 minutes ago in the city depot I expected the uniformed customer service attendant to draw on her uniformed phrase book and ask me, at just the right moment, whether I wanted fries with my four-cylinder sedan.
By Drusilla Modjeska
Ten days after the incident at Brisbane airport, we were in a Port Moresby hotel watching Sunday morning current affairs from Australia. It was a while before Somare’s shoes got a mention, and when they did even the best of the Australian journalists seemed bemused. It was “a bit silly”, one of them said. In Papua New
By Don Watson
Early in the new year I entered a hairdressing salon in the main street of the Victorian Wimmera town of Horsham (not “Hers and Sirs” but the one next to it, if ever you’re looking). At 9.30 in the morning the place was empty, and in no time the hairdresser was fluffing the hair around my ears in the familiar way of