Imaginative Possession

learning to live in the Antipodes

Imaginative Possession
Belinda Probert
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Seeking ways to understand her chosen continent better, Belinda Probert bought a rural property outside of Melbourne to observe the land more closely and learn how to garden differently. How do we understand a country? At a time when many easy assumptions about how we live and how our society functions are being questioned there is room for contemplation of a country that is ancient, occupied for at least sixty thousand years, and young, a national federation for only twelve decades. Belinda Probert, a migrant from England sets out to question in words and action how well she understands the landscapes she has seen and the people that have shaped them. She takes with her a set of writers who have asked the same questions, or provided interpretations of our sense of belonging, to test their words against her own emerging views. Wondering how a nation of immigrants can fully settle here she decided she needed to buy a property in the ' country' so she could observe it more closely, and learn to garden differently. Trees fell on her, ants bit her, bowerbirds stole her crops, but from the exercise she discovers much more about soil, trees, water, animals and protecting herself from fire emergencies. Driving back and forth she learns to see the ancient heritage all around us, and rural industries that have destroyed and created so much.
Belinda Probert grew up in the UK wanting to be a sheep farmer. After a PhD on the Troubles in Northern Ireland she moved to Western Australia to teach peace and conflict studies and explore her Australian family. She is the author of books about Northern Ireland, gender equity, and work.