Buffel Grass: An Augmented Landscape
This article examines, in part, the spread of an introduced grass species, Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris), in central Australia. It is also about immersing oneself in an unfamiliar landscape and environment, and exploring the kind of writing that can emerge from that process. It is informed by James Clifford's proposition in 'Fort Ross Meditation' that history occurs on diverse and overlapping temporal registers such as weather, dust, faultlines, human histories, animal histories and histories of seeds, among others. While the article does not explicitly discuss Clifford’s argument, it is an attempt to explore similarly diverse histories including those generated by arid zone scientists, Albert Namatjira’s efforts to gain a grazing licence, environmental impact of settlement (including erosion, dust storms and species extinction), along with personal narratives impelled by engagement with place. The article does not aim to theorise its content, rather to elaborate knowledge of landscape along with that elusive quality, a ‘sense of place’, through connecting disparate things.
place, environmental history, landscape, ecology, travel narratives