Whitlanders in the 1940s. Established in 1941 near the base of Victoria’s Mount Buffalo, this Catholic community celebrated the ‘dignity of manual labour’ and was led by a charismatic athlete and former judge’s associate, Ray Triado. Joe Pisani

Friday essay

Friday essay: the Australians who pioneered self-sufficiency, generations before Nimbin

Long before 70s hippies and hipster artisans, Australians were seeking solace by going back to the land. They ranged from anarchists to suffragists to Catholic agrarians.
Anna McGahan as Charmian Clift in Sue Smith’s play Hydra. Long overshadowed by her husband George Johnston, recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in Clift’s life and work. Jeff Busby/Queensland Theatre

A passionate voice

‘A woman ahead of her time’: remembering the Australian writer Charmian Clift, 50 years on

Fifty years after her death, Australian writer Charmian Clift is experiencing a renaissance. With her forward-thinking columns, Clift's voice rose above the crowd during post-war Australia.
Arthur Loureiro, Study for ‘The spirit of the new Moon’ 1888, oil on canvas. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane Purchased 1995. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant with the assistance of Philip Bacon through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation. Celebrating the Queensland Art Gallery's Photograph: QAGOMA

Friday essay

Friday essay: romancing the moon – space dreaming after Apollo

50 years after Apollo 11, a new exhibition considers artistic responses to our celestial neighbour. As we retreat from human space exploration, our relationship to the moon has become virtual.
Susie Porter as Marie and Kate Jenkinson as Allie in Wentworth. The show’s drama revolves around a women’s prison. Fremantle Media Australia/Xinger Xanger Photograph

Screenwriting

Inside the story: writing the powerful female world of Wentworth

In the popular Australian TV series Wentworth, the setting of a women's prison is a pressure-cooker for drama. The setting also allows for greater representation of diverse female characters.
The ‘gothic’ genre was once thought to be inapplicable to Australia. But there is a strong gothic tradition in Australian literature and film, seen in examples like Picnic at Hanging Rock. IMDB

Explainer

Australian Gothic: from Hanging Rock to Nick Cave and Kylie, this genre explores our dark side

Gothic texts are not all bloodsucking vampires and howling werewolves. An Australian Gothic tradition took root alongside colonisation, influencing writers from Marcus Clarke to Alexis Wright.
Walter Withers, ‘The Drover’, 1912, oil on canvas. A recent book reinterprets Henry Lawson’s The Drover’s Wife in 99 ways, offering new perspectives on the classic short story. Wikimedia Commons

Inside the story

Inside the story: 99 versions of the same tale in The Drover’s Wives

Ryan O'Neill's book reimagines a classic Australian short story. He retells The Drover's Wife 99 times in various forms, including a poem, an Amazon review, and even as a Cosmo quiz.
In the novel Coach Fitz, the narrator is seemingly unaware of his humorous voice. This device is one way that the novel subverts expectations. Shutterstock

Writing humour

Inside the story: Coach Fitz and the accidentally comic voice

At the centre of the novel Coach Fitz is Tom, an anti-hero whose unintentionally humorous voice drives the narrative. Tom is an awkward everyman, a naïve Don Quixote, a digressive Tristam Shandy.
Charlotte Best in the Australian Netflix original drama Tidelands (2018). Research last year found that only around 1% of the Netflix Australia catalogue was Australian content. Hoodlum Entertainment

Streaming

Netflix is opening its first Australian HQ. What does this mean for the local screen industry?

Netflix may be inching closer to becoming a “local” media company, with an increased presence in our small but profitable national market. Will this lead to more locally-made content?
Tom Schilling as Kurt Barnert – a slightly blurred facsimile of the famous German artist Gerhard Richter – in Never Look Away. Pergamon Film, Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion, Beta Cinema

Artists on film

In Never Look Away we finally have a painter biopic offering insight into the creative process

Standing out among the crowd of recent artist biopics, the new film Never Look Away peels back some unhelpful tropes that have blinkered our understanding of the artist's process.
The Indigenous flag flies above Victorian Parliament in 2017. Tracey Nearmy/AAP

An icon

Explainer: our copyright laws and the Australian Aboriginal flag

As the flag's copyright owner, Luritja artist Harold Thomas has the right to grant licences to whomever he pleases. Asking the government to buy back his copyright licence could be seen as an appropriation of Aboriginal property rights.
Michelle Guthrie in 2018: the former ABC managing director made greater staff diversity a top priority. But her final Equity and Diversity annual report failed to meet several long-held targets. Joel Carrett/AAP

Friday essay

Friday essay: diversity in the media is vital - but Australia has a long way to go

As we face a growing tide of unregulated hate speech, the media is crucial in normalising diversity. Yet progress here has been slow. Even the ABC has failed to meet some of its own targets for hiring a diversity of employees.
The French film School’s Out is a masterpiece. Avenue B Productions, Canal+, OCS

Film

Five films not to miss from the 2019 Sydney Film Festival

A flawless French film, a Macedonian parable and a documentary following alt-right strategist Steve Bannon are three of the stand out films from this year's festival.

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