Where did we in The Alice all come from?

Where did we all come from, and how do we fit together?

 

I have recently discovered two captivating books detailing the multi-layered history of two famous cities. They are Infinite City A San Francisco Atlas by Rebecca Solnit and Unfathomable City A New Orleans Atlas by Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker.

 

The reason I mention these books here is because it has been said a few times that another history covering the complexity of Alice Springs and Central Australia would be well received. The format of the two books might be an effective way to do this.

 

In the two atlases the authors have presented the history of each city through a series of maps, each with an accompanying essay, and each taking a particular portion of the city’s history and overlaying it on the city and its surrounding area as it is today.

 

For instance, San Francisco has 22 maps. Different ones show ancient place names, cinemas, coffee houses, military infrastructure in WWII and today, and the wonderfully named chapter Monarchs and Queens: Butterfly Habitats and Queer Public Spaces.

 

A sampling of the 22 maps in Unfathomable City includes the forced migration of early indigenous tribes, European migrants and where they settled, cemeteries, sugar, oil, Hurricane Katrina, banana barons, carnival parade routes, and the sale of seafood and sex.

 

A work of this scope being well outside my skills as a writer, and requiring much more scholarly dedication than I could ever muster, I am throwing the idea out in the hope that someone will take it and run.

 

A sample of possible maps that come to mind includes ancient song-lines, early explorers and camel tracks, stock routes and beef roads, white advisors and the phenomena of indigenous art, stabbings, present day population shifts and the journeys of today’s Bush Bus.

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