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Title: Arakoon: The Lore Surrounding the Gaol: Gwen Kelly's 'Always Afternoon' (1981)
Contributor(s): Ryan, John Sprott  (author)
Publication Date: 2006
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Abstract: This fourth novel by the Armidale-based short story writer and novelist Gwen Kelly (b.1922), was listed in the sequence of twentieth century artistic treatments of this folkloric motif about a great gaunt structure, that of the lonely coastal Gaol, in 'Australian Folklore' 20 (2005), as a further development of that motif. And, like its predecessors, Thomas Keneally's 'The Fear' (1965) and Joan Clarke's 'Dr Max Herz: Surgeon Extraordinary' (1976), Kelly's 1981 novel is, at the core, deeply concerned with the manifestations of militarism and racism by civilians in wartime, this text being concerned with World War One attitudes to interned German nationals, 'aliens', and even, in sadder cases, towards persons of German descent who have been long domiciled in Australia.Like Gwen Kelly's other fictions, it is a socially focussed text,probing stereotypical Australian attitudes and behaviour. It is also one particularly concerned with the limits—particularly for the young—to the inculcated personal obligation to follow country and family and not question one's kith and kin. To pursue this questioning of the roles expected of (Australian) women, Kelly usually makes particular use of a very specific location, in this case that of the beautiful coastal area around Arakoon, near the New South Wales north coast's Trial Bay and the old gaol on the peninsula above that small village. Her story opens in the spring of 1915, at the time of a known historical event, the internment of some 500 apparently more 'difficult' German nationals, 'enemy aliens', at the old gaol beside Trial Bay.
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: Australian Folklore, v.21, p. 99-112
Publisher: Australian Folklore Association
Place of Publication: Armidale, Australia
ISSN: 0819-0852
Field of Research (FOR): 200599 Literary Studies not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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