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ERIC Number: EJ1070972
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1324-1486
If Burke Had Been a Naturalist: Telling and Retelling National Narratives
Slattery, Deirdre
Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, v8 n2 p13-21 2004
Myth plays a role in shaping the way outdoor educators develop pedagogy and curriculum, and its influence needs to be critically evaluated in such processes. In mythic narratives about Australian culture, the Burke and Wills expedition of 1860 is an icon: a story whose significance has often been evoked in discussion of a national ethos and relationship with nature. As an expedition and an exploration it also shares a strong element with a significant outdoor education practice, the journey. I argue that the mythic status of the explorer story as journey has significantly influenced outdoor education curriculum and practice in Australia. The journey and the assumptions about educational value that surround it have not been a fruitful guide for that curriculum and practice. Uncritical acceptance of the value of journeying constrains in a particular way the development of an Australian approach to Australian outdoor education and actually reinforces an ultimately destructive set of ideas. Approaches that depend on journeying for their rationale and shape are insufficiently concerned with developing knowledge of place that would enable us to better explore the full weight of our interdependence with the land. However, mythic ideas are contestable, and in that contest can be found other ways of seeing and relating to Australian nature.
Outdoor Council of Australia. 150 Caxton Street, Milton, Queensland 4064, Australia. Tel: +61-7-3369-9455; Fax: +61-7-3369-9355; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A