Fabulating Beauty: Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey

By Andreas Gaile | Go to book overview

Dead White Male Heroes
True History of the Kelly Gang,
and Ned Kelly in Australian Fictions

SUSAN K. MARTIN

In Australia's cultural psyche Ned Kelly is “…” our
Atticus Finch.2

IN AUGUST 2002 the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Australia, Jim Soorley, launched a program called 'One Book, One Brisbane,' designed to get the local populace all reading together. The notion was borrowed, according to Soorley, from a programme in Chicago, where the book chosen for 2001 was Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Bird (1960).3 The book selected for the whole of Brisbane to read and discuss was Peter Carey's Booker and Commonwealth Prize-winning novel, True History of the Kelly Gang (2000). In his comparison of the US and Australian “One Books,” Soorley

1 A different version of this essay appears in Imagining Australia, ed. Judith Ryan &
Chris Wallace–Crabbe (Cambridge MA: Harvard UP, 2004), and this version is pub-
lished with the kind permission of the editors and of Harvard University Press. It was
written with the support of Harvard University, and my employer, La Trobe Univer-
sity, Melbourne, Australia.

2 Jim Soorley, “Perspective: 'Brisbane Takes on Ned Kelly',” Australian Broadcast-
ing Corporation Radio National, 5.55 pm, 13 August 2002: www.yourabc.net.au/rn
“transcript”.

3 “One Book, One Chicago” (Chicago Public Library, 26 September 2001), 5 Sept-
ember 2002, www.chipublib.org/003cpl/onebook/intro.html

-301-

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