The Australian beachspace : flagging the spaces of Australian beach texts

Ellison, Elizabeth Rae (2013) The Australian beachspace : flagging the spaces of Australian beach texts. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The Australian beach is a significant component of the Australian culture and a way of life. The Australian Beachspace explores existing research about the Australian beach from a cultural and Australian studies perspective. Initially, the beach in Australian studies has been established within a binary opposition. Fiske, Hodge, and Turner (1987) pioneered the concept of the beach as a mythic space, simultaneously beautiful but abstract. In comparison, Meaghan Morris (1998) suggested that the beach was in fact an ordinary or everyday space. The research intervenes in previous discussions, suggesting that the Australian beach needs to be explored in spatial terms as well as cultural ones. The thesis suggests the beach is more than these previously established binaries and uses Soja's theory of Thirdspace (1996) to posit the term beachspace as a way of describing this complex site. The beachspace is a lived space that encompasses both the mythic and ordinary and more.

A variety of texts have been explored in this work, both film and literature. The thesis examines textual representations of the Australian beach using Soja's Thirdspace as a frame to reveal the complexities of the Australian beach through five thematic chapters. Some of the texts discussed include works by Tim Winton's Breath (2008) and Land's Edge (1993), Robert Drewe's short story collections The Bodysurfers (1987) and The Rip (2008), and films such as Newcastle (dir. Dan Castle 2008) and Blackrock (dir. Steve Vidler 1997).

Ultimately The Australian Beachspace illustrates that the multiple meanings of the beach's representations are complex and yet frequently fail to capture the layered reality of the Australian beach. The Australian beach is best described as a beachspace, a complex space that allows for the mythic and/or/both ordinary at once.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 63468
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Hawkes, Lesley & Maher, Sean
Keywords: Australian beaches, Australian film, Australian literature, Australian studies, gender studies, Indigenous film, Indigenous literature, spatial studies, Thirdspace, beachspace
Divisions: Current > Schools > Creative Writing & Literary Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 17 Oct 2013 05:00
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2015 05:14

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