Zen and the Art of Locating The Real Australia

June/July 2021 will mark fifty years since a couple of undergraduate History students started to fantasise about a film exploring the nature of The Real Australia. They happened to live on the same corridor of a residential college at JCU. Late-night discussions of various Problems in Australian History suggested a scenario that could be filmed in Ravenswood with a cast drawn from various campus identities.

Many years later, with Dirty Work at The Crossroads in the bag, its author turned his attention to a long-neglected scenario. It was subsequently reworked into a double-stranded narrative that dealt with significant issues in Australian historiography.

The result is Zen and the Art of Locating The Real Australia, which (hopefully) manages to deliver on three fronts.

First, it sets out to transform the original film scenario, which lacked a definite conclusion, into a sequence of dreams with a reasonably tidy end.

Second, given a need to spin the dream sequence out across a succession of nights, it aims to deliver a mildly satirical look at campus life in somewhere somewhat similar to Townsville circa 1975 or thereabouts.

Third, it offers a commentary on how historians have presented Australia's national story, given the fact that the narrative contains many details that many writers would prefer to omit.

This site currently lacks a final version of Zen and the Art since a few loose ends need to be resolved. The result also needs to be approved by its co-originator.

Beyond those projects, several more currently sit somewhere between initial conception and a developing narrative that needs to find a conclusion.

© Ian Hughes 2017