Unit: The Changing Australian Voice ('The Man from Snowy River' and 'Municipal Gum')

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AUGUST 13, 2014


Task Requirements
You are to create a representation of TWO of the poems studied in class and an explanation or rationale of your work. In this task you are to consider the values and assumptions underlying the voice in the poems and explore the effect of changing context on those values and assumptions. How you decide to represent these ideas on the page is entirely up to you, but you should consider the most appropriate visual techniques to convey your ideas. Your visual must adhere to the following criteria; however, any changes to the criteria must be negotiated with your teacher.
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This notion is represented hand in hand with the romanticisation of the bush through the glorified characterisation of ‘The Man’, exemplifying him as the perfect bushman and more importantly as an underdog. The described imagery of,
“Stripling on a small and weedy beast”,
Denotes the Man as the underdog, however, he carries all the attributes idealised of Australian. This is shown through the personification of:
“And the stock-whips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back”
The poem heroistically connects the romanticism of the bush and landscape to the historically referenced obsession with the underdog. That, and the previously mentioned social context define the values, assumptions and voice of the poem and of Australia at that time, one that shows courage and perseverance even in the face of adversity – a constituently elemental voice.

Kath Walker’s poem ‘Municipal Gum’ (written in 1960) is a representation of the struggles of the
Aboriginal people, shown through an active, responsive voice reflective of the values and assumptions and the context during that time. Entrapment, displacement and suffering are accentuated by the use of literary and poetic devices, and combined with the social context, form the changed voice of the poem. Displacement is represented starting with the juxtaposition of the title. The two words,
‘Municipal Gum’ immediately introduces the idea that a gum tree, a natural object should not be

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