Rewriting Redevelopment: The Anti-Proprietorial Tone in Sydney Place-Writing


  • Jennifer Hamilton University of Sydney / Western Sydney University


place, temporality, decolonisation, property, close reading


Corporate and government place-making practices are designed to make place a more desirable commodity. In Sydney, this activity capitalises on the extant settler colonial drive towards property ownership. In this context, the labours of artists are often engaged to cultivate an interesting and sophisticated cultural atmosphere in areas that are undergoing top-down redevelopment. The role of literary arts is curious in this context because it does not cultivate the same configurations of community as other types of creative practice. By drawing a distinction between a reading (a live event) and close reading (a studious reflection), this essay engages in the latter as a form of counter-cultural place making. This is specifically the case in relation to two works—Fiona McGregor's novel Indelible Ink (2010) and Brenda Saunders' poem "Sydney Real Estate: FOR SALE" (2012)—that represent critical perspectives on the commodification of place. By engaging in a close reading of these texts, this essay serves the dual purpose of exploring the role of ecocritical literary studies in the real-world oriented field of Environmental Humanities.

Author Biography

Jennifer Hamilton, University of Sydney / Western Sydney University

Seed Box Environmental Humanities Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Funded by MISTRA+FORMAS Linköping University, Sweden; Housed in Gender and Cultural Studies, USYD & Institute For Culture and Society (WSU).