Sounding-Boards of the Heart. "Wings of the Kite-Hawk: A Journey Into the Heart of Australia" by Nicholas Rothwell. [review]
Nicolas Rothwell's "Wings of the Kite-Hawk" is firmly in a tradition of explorer narratives with no real closure or discovery. The book retraces the steps of explorers such asLeichhardt, Sturt and Giles, and investigates what they were able to make, simultaneously, of both themselves and their new environment. It also follows both Carl and Theodor Strehlow, father and son, whose frontier was the point at which Aboriginal and European thought met; it was a frontier created by language and image. Alighting in particular on the figures of Leichhardt, Sturt and Giles, Rothwell is investing in that later group of nineteenth-century explorers who, to borrow a phrase from "Fawlty Towers", provide psychology with enough material for an entire convention. The earlier group, which included Hume, Hovell, Oxley and Mitchell, also had their complexities. But there is something reassuring about the fact that these men were ambitious and greedy. They were after land - useful land. Most people can relate to that.