Colonialism and its Aftermath

State Library of Tasmania Projects 2008

Literature, Popular Fiction and the Public Lending Library

The State Library of Tasmania has developed a number of "Reader Development Initiatives" with a view to maintaining and increasing the use of their literature collections. These include the 2005 Tasmania's Favourite Books Survey, regular theme-based displays and promotions, and the Express Service for books in high demand. In addition, the Library's activities generate a range of borrowing statistics. One of the issues which has emerged from these Initiatives concerns the opposition between "high" literature and popular fiction.

This project will involve examination of the borrowing patterns of the Library's literature collection together with analysis of the Reader Development Initiatives: What role have the various Initiatives played in determining reading practices of lenders? To what extent does the maintenance and use of the literature collection reflect prevailing ideas about the distinction between high literature and popular fiction?

Entertaining Tasmania

Tasmania has a long and rich theatrical heritage, as one of the earliest Australian spaces for European performance. The State Library of Tasmania houses an extensive collection of performing arts ephemera in its Tasmaniana and WL Crowther libraries. Materials include programmes, handbills, posters, and scrapbooks reflecting nearly two centuries of theatrical activity. A variety of possible projects exist within these collections.

Indicative projects could include: a study of nineteenth-century Shakespeare productions by local and visiting companies; a history and analysis of particular local theatre companies; an investigation of the range of entertainments on offer in Van Diemen's Land / Tasmania within a discrete period; an analysis of particular scrapbooks of ephemera put together by theatre enthusiasts.

Warring Poets

Early Australian poetry was a battleground: ambitious amateur and professional poets, publishing in the nascent colonial press, strove to create new forms and voices to invoke the antipodean bard. Yet despite Elizabeth Webby's annotated bibliography of poetry in colonial newspapers and magazines, there has been very little textual and critical study of the poetry published in Van Diemen's Land serials and early books and pamphlets - its derivation, its reflections on contemporary events, its use in the battles between warring editors and journalists, the identification of the (usually anonymous or pseudonymous) poets, its satirical form, etc.

This project offers the opportunity to conduct archival research, to do introductory textual editorial work, book history, and advanced literary analysis. Projects will focus on newspaper publications, as well as Janus N. Dullrazor's Yowyang: a poem, in seven cantos (1859) and Maxwell Miller's Tasmanian House of Assembly: a metrical catalogue (1860).

Places Worth Visiting; Colonial Guidebooks In Tasmania

Guidebooks help to map places for visitors and new arrivals, both physically and metaphorically. The transport and publication industries of the nineteenth century saw an explosion of travel writing about the "new world" opening up to Europeans, and in this guidebooks played an important part. Guidebooks about the Australian colonies sought to explain--and usually encourage--immigration and travel to the new settlements: as such, they contribute significantly to the development of ideas about place, race, and settler identity. This project focuses on two competing guides to colonial Tasmania: Thomas' Guide for Excursionists from the Mainland to Tasmania (1869-) and Walch's Tasmanian Guide Book: A Handbook of Information for all Parts of the Colony (1871).

State Library Supervisor - Ian Morrison
UTas Supervisor, SEJEL - Ralph Crane

"The World Through A Woman's Eyes": Women Travel Writers In Tasmania

The nineteenth-century British Empire opened up a world of travel for its imperial citizens, who travelled for work, curiosity, immigration, leisure, and duty. As the century progressed, middle- and upper-class women found in travel the freedom to expand their gradually-won independence. Many critics have explored famous women travellers such as Mary Kingsley, Isabella Bird, and . What did women's travel and travel writing look like at the antipodes, in the Australian colonies? How was their travel implicated in colonial expansion? How did women negotiate the competing imperatives of travel and settlement?

This project examines women's travel writing about Tasmania in the nineteenth century as a case study in an analysis of gender, travel, and empire. It will draw its source material from Celmara Pocock's Bibliography of Tasmanian Travel Writing , and provides the successful student with an opportunity to contribute new material to this important resource.