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Symbols of Australia: Uncovering the Stories behind the Myths

Edited by Melissa Harper and Richard White

ISBN 9781921410505
Paperback, 240 pages
250mm x 230mm, full colour
Co-published by UNSW Press and National Museum of Australia Press in January 2010
RRP A$39.95

How did the kangaroo transform from a bizarre curiosity to an internationally recognised symbol of Australia?

How did Vegemite, a waste product of beer, come to be the most popular spread in the country?

How did the Opera House survive early controversy to become a national symbol equal to the Pyramids or the Taj Mahal?

And does the pavlova belong to Australia or New Zealand?

Australia is a land of symbols. From the curious, the folkloric, the official, the ancient, the inspiring, the commercial, the lovable, the feared, even the edible, these symbols make the abstract concept of the nation tangible and give us an identity by representing Australia to itself and the world. But how are national symbols created? What makes them popular? Do they unite or divide the nation? And what do they really mean?

Symbols of Australia offers an entertaining, provocative and often surprising look at 26 of Australia's best-loved symbols. Some are quirky and frivolous and others get taken for granted, but these symbols have the power to make a nation.

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