NLA Publishing, 2018
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Over a century ago Dorothea Mackellar wrote her iconic poem My Country and shared the beauty of Australia’s diverse landscape as she wrote about the amazing contrasts that make it unique. Now Julie Murphy has used a similar theme to share her interpretation of its remarkable environments and habitats from the “wild wind-carved mountains” to the “white salty foam.”
But this version is not a collection of words to be memorised and analysed and trotted out in response to literature assignments – this is a journey around and across this country that is lavishly illustrated in almost photo-like style by wildlife artist Garry Flemming, making it both an audial and visual celebration of what is on offer. Followed by several pages with easily-readable explanations of each of the biomes in the stories, which themselves are accompanied by photos held by the National Library of Australia, this book would not only be the perfect souvenir for the traveller but also opens up the country for those who have not yet travelled.
The final words can be the beginning of something as magnificent as this country.
Here in my country I’ll live and roam
My spirit sings here – this is my home.
But home for me is very different to the home of my family and my friends – we stretch from mountains to cities to seaside and the views from our windows are vastly different, and where we live shapes how we live.
Young children tend to see the world immediately around them as indicative of what the whole world is like, so this would be a perfect kickstart to broadening their horizons through teaming up with schools in a totally different landscape perhaps through a Travelling Teddy exchange or a Through My Window art collaboration, both of which not only connect the kids but help them to look closely at their own environment so they can share it with others elsewhere. Where we live also shapes how we live and what we consider to be normal routines so comparing and contrasting things such as school and leisure time activities can also open doors and minds to difference. My Australia expands to become Our Australia.