Creation, evolution and "first sight": the spirit of Centralia

Gallagher, Donat (2010) Creation, evolution and "first sight": the spirit of Centralia. In: Proceedings of Biennial Conference in Philosophy, Religion and Culture, pp. 1-15. From: Biennial Conference in Philosophy, Religion and Culture, 1-3 October 2010, Strathfield, NSW, Australia.

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Abstract

Theo Price had an extraordinary admiration for the Aborigines of Central Australia. Infinitely more respectful of their character and way of life than was common in the 1930s, he was in awe of their power to connect with the unseen world ("first sight") and find harmony with the One Good, the primal cause of all things. His little known 1935 mystical romance, God in the Sand (publisher's title forced on the author) is an elaborate romance that grows out of a realistic journey in Central Australia. But at its heart is a series of beautifully told creation and other mythic stories related to the hero, Errol, by the heroine, Luma. The earliest stories tell of the creation of human kind, of many geographic features, plants and animals and the origins of the totemic system. Neither a conventional Christian nor a rationalist, Price d es not discount Aboriginal totemism as pre-religious or Sub-rational "magic." On the contrary, he elevates Aboriginal religion as impressively spiritual. The novel concludes with the hero and heroine exploring in dream the world of the spirit and learning wisdom from the fount of truth and knowledge.

God in the Sand is a unique creation of day-to-day actuality, mystic romance and an apparently authoritative re-telling of Central Australian Dream Time stories. A desperately poor and ill man, Price published the work through P. R. "Inky" Stephensen, who imposed massive cuts and changes of style as a condition of publication. The harrowing story of how the novel found its way into print is perhaps the most extraordinary in Australian publishing history.

Item ID: 16867
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Keywords: Price, spirituality, mystic romance, Arunta, Centralia, creation
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Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2014 02:40
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature @ 30%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200502 Australian Literature (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature) @ 40%
22 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220499 Religion and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950504 Understanding Europes Past @ 30%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950406 Religious Traditions (excl. Structures and Rituals) @ 40%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950199 Arts and Leisure not elsewhere classified @ 30%
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