Early Australian Literature

Maret 18, 2021

 Oleh: Sheren Vipta Maulidya

(Mahasiswi Sastra Inggris Universitas Bangka Belitung) 

Image Source: sci-news.com

Literature and humans cannot be separated from each other. There is a very close relationship between literature and humans in their life. Therefore, all countries in the world have their respective literary histories, including Australia. When it comes to Australian literature, the name Charles Harpur never leaves his journey. Harpur is known to have been recorded as an indigenous writer who has colored the writings of Australian writers since his early days.

From all Harpur's writings, the most interesting is his poetry about Aborigines entitled "An Aboriginal Mother's Lament" which this work is not featured in the book Australian Poetry Since (1788). This indicates the position of Aboriginal literature which is still marginalized and has not yet got a place because the writing of literature in the early days of Australian literature was still dominated by white writers whose work still placed a lot of emphasis on optimism and religious beliefs. The existence of conflicts between newcomers and indigenous Australians made indigenous Australians begin to show their existence and resistance through literary works (Devi Nurhayati, 2019, p. 126).

In Aboriginal literature, a common theme is about the resistance of indigenous Australians to violence from immigrant nations. Aboriginal writers describe a lot of traumas in their writing, for example David Unaipon who is also often referred to as a pioneer of indigenous writers. In his writings, Unaipon wrote a lot about legendary stories of Aboriginal people, or about the local life of Aboriginal people. The appearance of David Unaipon in the community, gave rise to other writers who also voiced the voices of Aboriginal people, such as Jack Davis who through his poetry tells about the lost generation or The Stolen Generation or Oodgeroo Noonuccal who expressed a lot of sadness in his poetry entitled “We Are Going” when the colonial nation came and began to destroy the life order of the indigenous people. Sadness, trauma, struggle and resistance can be seen in Aboriginal literary works, which have become their own color in Australian literature.

David Unaipon made a major contribution to the improvement of literary science within the scope of Aboriginal literature. “David is recognized as one of the earliest Aboriginal writer to be published in English language and to use English as a political tool through which Aboriginal voice could be heard from within the colonial structure in a form that was visible and recognizable to the British Government” (Leane, 2015, p.29). Unaipon embraces his intelligence to write and criticize discriminatory political policies against his people. Unaipon himself already wears English which he breaks down the western stigma that often puts stereotypes on the Aboriginal people as an uneducated, uncivilized nation, but Unaipon is able to break all stereotypes made in the West by making himself a writer, a writer, as well as an inventor.

Contemporary Aboriginal literary work began in 1964 when Oodgeroo Noonuccal published his collection of poems. Figures such as Kevin Gilbert, Jack Davis, and Collin Johnson (Mudrooroo) are considered to be the pioneers of contemporary Aboriginal literary work which still contains racism, questions of national identity, and tries to provide historical narratives that have been constructed by the West so far. One of the pioneers of contemporary Aboriginal literature is Jack Davis. Jack Davis is a 20th century Australian scriptwriter and poet and an indigenous rights activist. Jack Davis is known as an Aboriginal poet and writer. The Aboriginal experience is never easy. This makes Davis to reveal everything in his writing. His most fa mous work is "Aboriginal Australia" (1977) which tells of how bitter it is to live as an isolated Aboriginal people, to be treated cruelly and evil from white people who are immigrants, and describes what it feels like to be left out of their own land.

Like Davis, Oodgeroo Noonuccal was a pioneer of contemporary Aboriginal literature. His work still talks about fighting against racism and proves the shedding of stereotypes about “Real Aborigines” who are considered as ignorant primitive people. Oodgeroo Noonuccal's works are considered too modern for an Aboriginal person because Aboriginal people are already attached to the negative stigma about ignorance and primitiveness. They are considered to be poor at speaking English, penless, and imprisoned by their traditions. One of Oodgeroo's poems entitled “We are Going” describes the unacceptable life of Aboriginal people in their own homeland. Their traditions were destroyed, their historical places were also damaged, they were thrown into a very low class which they did not want at all. Oodgeroo’s poetry is part of a process that makes memory alive through writing and projects that very memory into the future. Her texts echo the ancient ‘fables of identity’, as they could be defined in a Western perspective and act as border-crossings and hybrid forms of writing (Di Blasio 2005, 2013b, 2016); they sustain the potential of the future to unfold, through representations of the past (Le Simplegadi XVII (19):119-127).

The arrival of white people in large numbers left indigenous Australians out. Indigenous Australian people face violence and discrimination because of their appearance that is not the same as the white nations, making literary figures such as Charles Harpur, David Unaipon, Jack Davis, and Oodgeroo Noonuccal to create works that have a hegemonic smell. This is a form of resistance and self-defense that racism is not the right thing. Australians, including aborigines, have the right to live on their land freely without criticism from anyone. Over time, however, Aboriginal literary works have begun to address other themes than anger, challenges, or resistance. The theme in Aboriginal literary works today has developed towards a more practical and colorful story.



Sheren Vipta Maulidya

You Might Also Like

0 komentar