Snapshots from a West Coast Death Trip

Emily Bullock


Tasmania’s west coast carries the memory of multiple colonial traumas – traumas associated with the violence and uprooting of an indigenous population and the punishment of convicts on the carceral Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour.  This paper performs a ‘death trip’ through the west coast, a term borrowed from Michael Lesy’s classic country noir book, Wisconsin Death Trip, providing a psychogeographic tour through the material traces of what Peter Read calls ‘lost places’.  Presenting an eclectic and fragmented collection of quotations, images, and impressions recorded of these places so as to communicate something of their broken texture, this paper also charts the multitude of affective encounters with these bad and lost places and traumatised ecologies.  By tracking, in Kathleen Stewart’s words, ‘the traces of impacts’, this paper demonstrates not only the powerful material form that traumatic pasts take but also their displaced effects in a marginalised region which is continually overlooked in mainstream historical narratives.

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