Essay about Russel Ward, The Australian Legend - Book Review

1196 Words 5 Pages
When writing the "big picture" histories, historians often overlook or exaggerate certain aspects of Australian history to make their point. Discuss with reference to one the recommended texts.

The book "The Australian Legend", written by Russell Ward and published in 1958 speaks mainly of "Australian Identity". It looks at nationalism and what has formed our self-image. There are many aspects that are left overlooked however, as the Authour makes his assumptions. Significant parts of society are neglected consideration, these include those that weren't from the bush, non-British immigrants, the Aboriginal people and women. Also the use of romanticised and exaggerated evidence causes an imbalance in his
…show more content…
Russel Ward generalised Australians, granting us attributes such as mateship, egalitarianism and anti-authoritarianism:

"According to the myth the typical Australian is a practical man, rough and ready in his manners and quick to decry any appearance of affection in others. He is a great improviser, ever willing to have a go at anything, but willing to be content with a task done in a way that is near enough. [...] He swears hard and consistently, gambles heavily and often, and drinks deeply on occasion [...] he is usually taciturn rather than talkative. [...] he believes that Jack is not only as good as his master, but, at least in principle, probably a good deal better, and so he is a great knocker of eminent people. [...] He is a fiercely independent person who hates officiousness and authority. [...] will stick by his mates through thick and thin, even if he thinks they may be in the wrong."

This extract shows the extent of the stereotyping that is evident in Ward's text. He makes very broad generalisations and portrays them as fact. Notice the masculinity within this extract as well as the absence of groups within the population other than white men. This is a one-sided portrayal of the Australian people which is far from balanced. Although most of the population lived in the city, Ward stated that "a specifically Australian outlook grew up first among the bush workers in the Australian pastoral industry, and this group has had an

More about Essay about Russel Ward, The Australian Legend - Book Review

Open Document