Australian Stories 1

Terra Australis was a fantasy place in the European imagination long before the voyages of Tasman and Cook. Aboriginal people have been telling dreaming stories about their country and ancestors for perhaps 50,000 years. This course explores some of the most powerful and enduring stories we tell about ourselves and our land, including the Dreaming and rainbow snakes; the Great South Land and the Inland Sea; Ned Kelly; Gallipoli; Uluru and the Azaria case; and the 2000 Olympics. Our focus will be less on “what really happened” than on how these stories have captured our imagination, changing them and us in the process.


Independent Study Discussion Courses are for study by groups without a tutor, so there is no need to write reports. These courses were written by tutors who have now since retired from the Discussion Group Program. Some courses were written a number of years ago, and therefore contain references to events which are now more historical than current, however, all are entertaining, well-produced and worthwhile.


Course Author
Mark Byrne


Supplied Course Material
Course Booklet


Units & Pricing
6 units / $48 per person


Course Code for Enrolment
D159


Getting Started

  1. Start your Group: Anyone can start a Discussion Group – seek out some like-minded friends or put up a notice in your local library, bookshop or workplace. Please note a minimum of 6 people is required to start a new discussion group.
  2. Arrange the Meetings: New groups need to decide where and when to meet, and for how long – whatever best suits members' particular situations.
  3. Run your Group: Choose a secretary to liaise with WEA and your tutor, a Discussion Leader to chair meetings, a reporter to take discussion notes to send to your tutor, and maybe a librarian to look after the books.
  4. Start the Course: Contact WEA Sydney to enrol. Bookings can be made for one year, divided into two terms – Term 1 commences in February, Term 2 in July (Groups may make forward bookings for popular choices). Please indicate in what order your Group wishes to study the courses, if more than one course is booked.