Dust Storms and “the Despair of the Housewife”: War-Time Wind Erosion as “Natural Disaster”
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Chapter 6 explains how journalists responded to Australian “dust bowl” narratives of human culpability and impending doom. It shows how writers constructed both negative and positive imagery of wind erosion’s impacts upon women, and how in turn, these struggled for dominance in popular narratives. The chapter introduces Hazel Hogan who lived in the Mallee wheatlands of Victoria. Her widely published writing reflects tensions that existed within narratives at the time regarding soil erosion as either natural disaster or a human-made disaster, and the place of women as enduring figures, as victims of soil erosion, or as both. The chapter investigates how storytellers combined ingrained ideas about women, with actual observations of environmental conditions, and the impact of this imagery on attempts to promote soil conservation.