A new book explores what most Australians would lose if they were forced to leave their country.
The poetry collection by Victoria University's Dr Tom Clark suggests non-Indigenous Australians "have been as guests awaiting the invitation to stay" and imagines a time when they are forced to get back in their boats and leave.
"The poems are set after the nation's non-Indigenous people have departed, their boats fanning out around the globe in search of asylum; the only ones left in Australia are fugitives running from a date with deportation," Dr Clark explained.
For the Love of Regional Areas traces the last Australians' lives, at home and abroad, in the years leading up to the Departure.
"It's an attempt to remember what we thought we had forever: the landscapes, the distinctive sounds of Australian voices, the nation's confidence and the platitudes that remind us why we belonged together," he said.
Dr Clark said the collection also remembered the personal hopes and dreams of "ordinary, mainstream Australians" and celebrated their public achievements.
The collection is a timely initiative exploring the question of identity and belonging for all non-Indigenous Australians.
Dr Clark is a senior lecturer in communication at Victoria University's School of Communication and the Arts. He is also author of Stay on Message: Poetry and Truthfulness in Political Speech.