Around the Bend: The Curious Power of the Hills around Queenstown, Tasmania

Emily Bullock

Abstract


This article traces a concern with excess and waste, landscape and identity in a town on the western periphery of Tasmania.  Queenstown’s bald hills have been a popular tourist drawcard since the turn of the century, sold in travel guides and brochures as a spectacular ‘moonscape’. A combination of a severe bushfire in 1896 and the emission of sulphurous gases from the pyritic smelting process at the Mt Lyell Copper Mine have resulted in Queenstown’s weird denuded landscape. But the locals have grown attached to the hills and want to preserve their baldness.  Here, the impulse to preserve a grotesque landscape registers a culture surviving on desecration to stave off its own disappearance.

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