Reimagining Maralinga

It is little known that among the survivors of the nuclear attacks on Japan were a small number of Australians. It is also barely understood that Australia yielded its land and compromised the future of its people to allow British nuclear colonialism—in the form of nuclear weapons testing at Maralinga, Emu Field, and the Monte Bello Islands. As the Cold War ended, greater sections of Australian society have since been implicated in our nuclear future—which is manifest in the legacies of uranium mining, nuclear testing and nuclear wastes, and signified in new public debates about the nuclear energy option, the role of extended nuclear deterrence in Australia’s defence, the expansion of uranium exports, and proposals about the handling of national and foreign radioactive wastes.

Since the time of the British nuclear tests, in the 1950s and 60s, Australian artists have responded to Australia’s nuclear politics and history through the mediums of film, song, digital arts, paintings, sculptures, theatre, photography, poetry, literature, and many others. The special issue, Reimagining Maralinga, argues that Australian artists offer unique insights about its peoples and land, underwritten by Australia’s many indigenous cultures. The special issue brings together the contributions of artists—and their artworks—alongside critical reflections on the role of the creative arts in dealing with Australia’s nuclear history, and bringing about alternative nuclear futures and social change.

N.A.J. Taylor, Paul Brown and Ellise Barkley’s special issue, Reimagining Maralinga, is forthcoming in Unlikely: Journal for Creative Arts

Table of Contents 

Welcome to Country

Editorial: Why reimagine Maralinga?
N.A.J. Taylor, Paul Brown and Ellise Barkley

Maralinga Community Voices
Mima Smart et al

Rebellious Art: pushing back against the nuclear state
Paul Brown

Residual: art beyond the event of Maralinga
Jessie Boylan

Tree of Life: a gift of sculpture to the Nagasaki Peace Park
Harrison and Russel Bryant with Ellise Barkley and Paul Brown

Linda Dement
Invisible Memorial: Augmented reality at Maralinga

Ebay makes the bomb
Warren (Ebay) Paul with Ellise Barkley and Jessie Boylan

Maralinga’s long shadow
Christobel Mattingley

Life lifted into the sky
Mima Smart, Rita Bryant and Missie Windlass with JD Mittmann, Pam Diment and Paul Brown

Sing Maralinga
Johnny Lovett and Band

Nuclear Veterans Voices
Avon Hudson et al

Making the story go far
Ellise Barkley

Staging the bomb
Ellise Barkley, Nic Mollison, Paul Brown, Luke Harrald and Teresa Crea

Neuroscientific perspectives on the atomic art of Nuclear Futures
Teresa Crea

A fight for recognition: making “Portrait of a Whistleblower”
Jessie Boylan with Avon Hudson

Where do you put the bomb?
Gordon Murray

Romancing the atom
John Romeril

Global Community Voices
Marika Ishii et al

Situated nuclear knowledges: An ecology of Antipodean nuclear art
N.A.J. Taylor

The Global Hibakusha Project: nuclear post-colonialism and its international legacy
Mick Broderick and Stuart Bender

Merilyn Fairskye

Understorey: connecting radio documentary with the nuclear age
Adrian Glamorgan and Elizabeth PO’

Tilman Ruff


This special issue was a sub-project of the Nuclear Reimaginings project. Current projects include Antipodean Antinuclearism and Nuclear Storytelling