Fabled land or false narrative: what is the modern outback?

Fabled land or false narrative: what is the modern outback?

One of the world’s last great untamed areas needs protection. In Guardian Australia’s new series, we examine the challenges it faces and meet those caring for it

The outback looms large in Australia’s collective mythology. For some it’s a fabled place of extreme beauty and harshness that forged the Australian character. But for others this is a false narrative – as the author Alexis Wright puts it, a story “Australia chose to tell itself and wanted to believe, about a land which had been stolen from Aboriginal people”.

What is certain is that the vast region, which spans 5.6m sq km and covers more than 70% of the continent, including the Northern Territory, most of Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and a corner of New South Wales, is one of the world’s last great untamed areas.

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