An elegant, original and very well written book, luminous with meaning, full of superb cameos and suggestive arguments ...the central figures are both charismatic, articulate and iconic: they are central to any estimation of twentieth-century Australian cultural and environmental history.-Dr Tom Griffiths, Australian National University This is a path-breaking work ...the environmental aspect of the work is powerful, and there are some wonderful ideas about what is 'civilised' and what is 'wilderness'. Brigid Hains has reinvigorated the tradition of 'frontier studies'. -Dr Jane Carruthers, University of South Africa The frontier mythology of the early twentieth century laid the groundwork for the wilderness cult of contemporary Australian life. It became etched in the Australian imagination through the image of folk heroes such as Douglas Mawson and John Flynn, promising national renewal through virile heroism and an encounter with 'wild' nature. Most frontier histories in Australia have focused on race relations; this is among the first to focus on the frontier as an ecological phenomenon.
It draws on rich primary sources, many of which have never been published, including Antarctic diaries, and the letters and journalism of John Flynn. In this superb account Brigid Hains offers: -a new interpretation of two Australian folk heroes and their iconic status in Australian culture -a fresh approach to frontier history that focuses on the landscape rather than on racial conflict, and -an explanation of the origins of wilderness conservation in Australia. Mawson's Antarctic exploration and Flynn's Australian Inland Mission both drew on imperial and trans-Pacific influences, such as imperial adventure literature, the cult of polar exploration, the rural life movement, population theory and eugenics. The Ice and the Inland compares these two Australian folk heroes and analyses the reasons for their popularity. It raises a number of topical issues, including the role of Australia in the international management of Antarctica; Flynn's treatment of Aboriginal people; the reasons for conservation of Australia's wild places, from the arid Centre to the frozen wastes of Antarctica; and relationships between the country and the bush, and between the metropolis and the frontier.show more