People joke that Australia is a cultural wasteland. Right now that view seems to be sadly, and unfairly, validated by the Cultural Atlas of Australia project.
The Atlas is a nice idea with its laudable aim of being “an interactive digital map designed to meet the needs of anyone interested in tracing the ways in which Australian places and spaces have been represented in fictional texts over the past half century”. So the idea is to show where events have taken place, where stories are set, where things have been filmed. All good so far. The Atlas is nicely presented and is an interesting use of Google’s mapping overlay.
The only problem is a lack of data. There just aren’t enough dot’s on the map and many of the dots that are there seem to come from a small number of movies. My exploration of the Atlas would suggest that Baz Luhrmann’s Australia was a major element in our culture. The map ought to be completely covered in dots; and when it is the Atlas will become a fascinating resource.
It is open to anyone to contribute more information, but only through a submitted curated process. Here’s hoping many people will do so and help the Atlas show the real depth of culture in Australia.
To explore our country’s cultural landscape you just need to point your compass here.