Harper, Melissa, Richard White (Editors)

Symbols of Australia offers illuminating and unexpected insights into the symbols that surround us: from Uluru to the Australian flag, the rainbow serpent to Holden cars, the democracy sausage to the Great Barrier Reef.

Entertaining, provocative, informative, and often surprising, Symbols of Australia reveals a great deal about the ways nations are imagined – and how they imagine themselves.

If the nation is imagined, the business of creating its meaningful symbols gives us the very essence of its history. The star-studded cast of Symbols of Australia takes us on a fascinating tour among kangaroos and pavlovas, baggy green caps and rainbow serpents, Holden cars and vegemite jars – and much more besides. On this splendid journey across desert and beach, reef and harbour, city and bush, we see and hear the nation in its full dignity, diversity and dagginess. – Frank Bongiorno, Professor of History, Australian National University

Humorous, insightful and profound, this book is a thought-provoking survey of twenty-eight of Australia’s best-known and most significant symbols. Entries range from Indigenous symbols that resonate with meaning, such as the Rainbow Serpent or Uluru, to animals and the natural world, official symbols, cultural practices, and commercial items of consumption. Most importantly, it showcases the agency of ordinary Australians and the role of popular culture in forging national identity. – Associate Professor Hsu-Ming Teo, Macquarie University

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NewSouth Publishing, November 2021.  464 pages, paperback