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Archive: 2003

At Home In Australia by Peter Conrad

David Malouf AO will launch a new publication At Home in Australia by acclaimed expatriate Australian writer and cultural critic Peter Conrad at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra at 12 noon tomorrow (Friday 10 October 2003).

Published by the Gallery, At Home in Australia gives Peter Conrad’s deeply felt account of a nation’s history and explores the ways in which his vast homeland has changed since its harsh colonial beginnings.

At Home in Australia showcases some 200 works from the Gallery’s collection of Australian photography ranging from those produced by some of the earliest photographers from the 19th century to recent works by internationally successful contemporary photo-media artists.

It is a personal journey of rediscovery undertaken by a writer who left Australia at the age of 20 and has now come to see it again with fresh eyes through the photographs. The book is not a linear history of the medium of photography, but adopts a more iconographic approach to reveal multi-disciplinary insights, continuities and relationships between the images and the wider psychological and social experience of living in Australia

The settlement of Australia coincided with the invention of photography. The camera recorded the clearance of the bush and the construction of huts for homesteaders, and documented the exploration of the remoter, uninhabitable outback. It also accompanied the building of new cities. The camera helped Australians to create a sense of community.

Peter Conrad, who left his home in Hobart, Tasmania to study abroad, was a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford from 1970 to 1973. Since then he has taught English at Christ Church College, Oxford. Peter Conrad is best known internationally for his many publications including reference works on the history of English literature and opera, critical essays and regular reviews for The Observer, London. His previous publications include, among others, Imagining America, Modern Times, Modern Places: Life and Art in the Twentieth Century, and the Hitchcock Murders.

Peter Conrad will also deliver the Gallery’s 21st Birthday Lecture at 6pm tomorrow night - sponsored by Qantas - on a topic drawn from the book, The flag, the map and the image of Australia.

At Home in Australia has been published by Thames & Hudson, London, in association with the National Gallery of Australia with support from Perpetual Trustees, Australia. The paperback edition of At Home in Australia is available from the Gallery for $49.00