‘Roads to Coen’ in new issue of Meanjin

I have an essay in the new issue of Meanjin titled ‘Roads to Coen: Cape York and the infrastructure of wilderness’. The essay is about settler colonialism, infrastructure, and the time I had a car crash and is based on the opening to a chapter of my thesis. The essay starts something like this:

I was driving south on the Peninsula Development Road (PDR) in the early afternoon of a dry season day when, ten kilometres north of the Archer River crossing, my four-wheel-drive went into a sidelong slide. Within a few seconds the car came to a shuddering halt, inverted in a ditch, its headlights now facing back towards the Lockhart River turnoff. What happened next escapes me, but some specifics remain: a plume of red dust entering the cabin through the driver’s side window; a line of blood travelling down my arm onto the right hand that held me up against the shattered windscreen; I told myself out loud to get out of the car. Crawling out of the vehicle, my foremost thought was that I had been the subject to a significant clerical error that could be set right through appeal to an unknown cosmic authority.

The new issue is out March 18th (I think) and available from “all good bookshops” etc.


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