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The Australian legend and Australian post-apocalyptic fiction: national identity and the end of the world

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posted on 2023-01-18, 16:16 authored by Lachlan Walter
Submission note: A thesis submitted in total fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the English Department, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora.

Post-apocalyptic fiction is explicitly concerned with the creation of future worlds that, more often that not, resemble the sites of the Imperial Western colonial era. Motifs such as a lack of technology, dangerous and inhospitable landscapes, a favouring of practicality over intellect, and an emphasis on individualism and physicality are commonplace, with the genre heavily informed by the tropes of the “Western”. Australian post-apocalyptic fiction, however, is often markedly different. In both my novel, The Dry, and the accompanying critical work (The Australian Legend and Australian Post-apocalyptic Fiction), I will both explicate these differences and illuminate the most influential factor behind them: the Australian Legend, an iconic and mythologised figure that acts as a representation and personification of a certain kind of Australian national identity. The Dry does this by focussing on the themes and concepts of mateship, community, egalitarianism and disdain for authority (stereotypical components of Australian national identity), rather than on themes of survivalism, the frontier, or individualism; The Australian Legend and Australian Post-apocalyptic Fiction does this through a close analysis of four works of Australian post-apocalyptic fiction. These analyses not only examine the themes of each text under discussion, but also give some historical context to these themes. Most importantly, these analyses also highlight the influence of the Australian Legend figure upon each text and explain the ways in which these texts employ and reconfigure the traits and values that underlie this figure, an employment and reconfiguration that truly differentiates them from their international kin.


Center or Department

School of Humanities and Social Sciences. English Department.

Thesis type

  • Ph. D.

Awarding institution

La Trobe University

Year Awarded


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The thesis author retains all proprietary rights (such as copyright and patent rights) over the content of this thesis, and has granted La Trobe University permission to reproduce and communicate this version of the thesis. The author has declared that any third party copyright material contained within the thesis made available here is reproduced and communicated with permission. If you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact us with the details.

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arrow migration 2023-01-10 00:15. Ref: latrobe:38175 (9e0739)

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