Patriots: Defending Australia's Natural Heritage 1946-2004

By Stewart, Alistair | Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, January 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Patriots: Defending Australia's Natural Heritage 1946-2004


Stewart, Alistair, Australian Journal of Outdoor Education


Lines, W. J. (2006). Patriots: Defending Australia's natural heritage 1946-2004. St. Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press. 416 pages. ISBN : 0702235547

On most occasions when I read a book I read several pages or hopefully a chapter before I get distracted or interrupted. I invariably read many other things-newspapers, magazines, research papers, other books-before I resume where I left off with the first book. In a sense, there isn't a 'first' book as the process is ongoing. While this approach may appear chaotic, I find that it helps me build understanding, relate a given topic to others and allows me to 'test' some of the ideas or claims being made in a particular text. This was certainly the case as I read William Lines' Patriots, a popularised account of the rise of nature conservation in Australia over the last 50 years. As I attempted to relate Lines' ideas to my life, teaching and research, I found there were numerous aspects of the book that resonated, yet I was also left unsatisfied. This is the fourth book of Lines' that has made its way onto my bookshelf, and like the others I feel that it has not lived up to some of its claims. The rise of conservation in Australia is not a recent phenomenon, as Lines seems to imply. As Tim Bonyhady (2000) has observed, there are numerous well documented historical accounts of people raising concerns about the effects of European settlement on the land. As early as 1892, for example, Dixon observed the severe consequences of over grazing and over use of fire on the native vegetation in South Australia.

Given the current focus in popular media on fairly abstract environmental issues like global warming, Lines is to be congratulated for his attempt to raise awareness of the people who have struggled to protect the natural environment of this continent. While I suspect many Australians know at least a little about sporting figures such as Don Bradman or Dawn Fraser, I doubt many know of the conservation efforts of people such as Myles Dunphy, Masie Fawcett, Crosbie Morrison or Judith Wright. Lines tells many intriguing stories about the conflict over land use and the characters involved. Did you know, for example, that Elyne Mitchell, famous for the Silver Brumby series of books, was an outspoken advocate for the protection of the Snowy Mountains?

Lines' account of politics and processes sheds light on the often cavalier approach of some state governments to public involvement in the decision-making processes regarding land use and development. For example, in 1988 the Tasmanian government introduced project-enabling legislation for the Wesley Vale pulp mill three days before the closure of public comment on the Environmental Impact Statement of the mill (pp. 254-57). While these stories made for interesting reading I found that the discussion often changed topic in odd ways that were difficult to follow. In the same passage referred to above, the discussion shifts from the battle over the Wesley Vale pulp mill to sand mining on Moreton Island in Queensland with only a vague reference to the duration of some conservation campaigns.

In a similar manner, I was also frustrated with the simplistic, and often cynical, claims Lines made. He often collapses complex issues or relationships into generalised statements that were unsubstantiated. For example:

The defence of Australia's natural heritage pitted conservationists against governments that were extreme, irrational, hysterical, dishonest, unscrupulous, abusive, cowardly, despotic, and often corrupt. Much government mendacity and duplicity reflected the humbug and manipulation intrinsic to public life. (p. 283)

I found Lines' minimalist approach to substantiating and, at times, questionable use of references (he relies heavily on newspaper articles at key points) problematic. As we have seen in the socalled history wars (see for example Manne, 2003), any representation of history is subject to interpretation and is never objective or value free. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Patriots: Defending Australia's Natural Heritage 1946-2004
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.