‘He couldn’t say for sure that even then he’d realised the ship was sinking. He had dropped the pot and rushed to his cabin to find his savings. Is that something a man does on the brink of death? Perhaps it is.’
In ‘One short mile from land’, from Griffith Review 55: State of Hope, Jane Rawson traces the recollections of George, a survivor of a sunk ship off the coast of South Australia. This piece formed part ofthe novel From the Wreck, which is based on the wrecking in 1859 of the steamship Admella (of which Rawson’s great-great-grandfather was a survivor) and was longlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin Award.
‘Australia doesn’t own its industry and has always been subject to the whims of head-offices on other continents. Unless this country built a unique and independent brand that the wider world was prepared to pay a premium for, survival was always going to be tough. But how many small countries have? ‘
In ‘Revolution on wheels’, from Griffith Review 52: Imagining the Future, Tony Davis investigates the current innovations towards making the driverless car a reality around the world, and asks whether Australia will be a participant or merely a spectator to this change.
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‘We are kitted with a mast of flooded gum, a linen lugsail, a sweep sail and well-crafted oars. Less than twelve feet, so a small boat to sail in. There is no anchor spare in the colony. Ours is a lump of rock that the sea has speared a hole through and, under Mr Bass’s instruction, I have threaded it with thick rope. We have only two muskets to contest pirates or cannibals, supplies for ten days, no more, and the danger is great.’
In Catherine McKinnon’s ‘Will Martin’, a lowly eighteenth-century ship’s boy provides an insightful perspective on cross-cultural misunderstandings and ‘first contact’ as he accompanies Bass and Flinders on an expedition by sea. After first appearing in Griffith Review 50: Tall Tales Short – The Novella Project III, ‘Will Martin’ was published in McKinnon’s novel Storyland (HarperCollins, 2017).
‘The past is a place that fades from your mind as you drive steadily into the darkness ahead. When you leave your mother, or your childhood, there is no return; instead, you find some way to forge ahead, to remake whatever has been unmade and to strip away those parts of yourself that threaten the life you’ve patched together.’
In his piece from Griffith Review 55: State of Hope, ‘Bigger than heaven’, Shannon Burns struggles to come to terms with his vain and violent mother, and his dysfunctional childhood in Elizabeth North.
Shannon Burns lives in Adelaide with his wife and two sons.
‘None of this occurred to me as a child. I knew the Israels existed, vaguely, but figured they’d forgotten about their kids. Steven, John and Hannah certainly seemed to have erased any memory of them. I was blind to the intricate history of trauma behind each foster-care placement. The trail of broken relationships and bereaved families. The violence that can linger in the mind and body of an abused child.’
After Lech Blaine‘s mother and father adopted the three children of Michael and Mary Israel, the notorious evangelists endeavoured to take them back. In ‘Those who trespass against us’, from Griffith Review 57: Perils of Populism, Blaine records the long and tortuous campaign of stalking and harassment his family was subjected to – and the terrible price it ultimately exacted.