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Author Event – Don Watson

The Sun Bookshop

Event Date: 7 December 2016
Author / Presenters: Don Watson

From one of Australia’s most esteemed writers, Don Watson, comes A Single Tree, the essential companion to its award-winning predecessor The Bush: Travels in the Heart of Australia.
In A Single Tree, Watson assembles the raw material underpinning The Bush, his 2014 work combining memoir, travel writing, history and social critique.
Watson’s handpicked collection continues the discussion on national character sparked by The Bush and comprises diary extracts, memoirs, journals, letters, histories, poems and fiction.
Following the same loose themes as The Bush, A Single Tree delves into the science of the landscape and climate, and the way we have perceived them as well as our deep and sentimental connection to the land, and our equally deep ignorance and abuse of it.
Diverse and haunting, these voices span the four centuries since Europeans first set eyes on the continent. From Charles Sturt and Abel Tasman to Tim Flannery and assorted contemporary farmers, environmentalists and grey nomads, these pieces represent a vast array of experiences, perspectives and knowledge.
Each of these varied contributors – settlers, explorers, anthropologists, naturalists, stockmen, surveyors, itinerants, artists and writers – represents a particular place and time. Men in awe of the landscape or cursing it; aspiring to subdue and exploit it or finding themselves defeated by it. Women reflecting on the land’s harshness and beauty, on the strangeness of their lives, their pleasures and miseries, the character and behaviour of the men. Europeans writing about Indigenous Australians, sometimes with intelligent sympathy and curiosity but often with contempt, and often describing acts of startling brutality.
There are accounts of journeys, of work and recreation, of religious observance, of creation and destruction. Stories of uncanny events, peculiar and fantastic characters, deep ironies, and of land unlimited. And musings on what might be the future of the bush: as a unique environment, a food bowl, a mine and a wellspring of national identity.

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