Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Communications and Arts


Faculty of Regional Professional Studies

First Supervisor

Dr Julie Goyder


This project consists of two parts, Section One: Steel Riders, a novel for young adult readers, and Section Two: An Hermeneutical Examination q(Steel Riders. Section One: Steel Riders is a hybrid text based largely on the conventions of the detective novel. The protagonist of Steel Riders is a nineteen-year-old university student, Bella Buchanan, who returns to her home in a small industrial town in regional Western Australia. Bella is disillusioned with her life in the city, but finds that she has become alienated from the life of her peers in her home town of Sandon. This distancing of Bella allows her to observe the manners of the townspeople from the perspective of an outsider/insider. Bella's quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of her ex-boyfriend, Tallis McGuin, local Nyungah football hero who has recently joined the police force as an Aboriginal Police Aid. Bella's life is thrown into further turmoil when she begins work as a security guard at the local sand mining plant. It is here at the plant that Bella discovers a plot to conceal an important anthropological report relating to a local Nyungah burial ground. The resulting 'investigation' undertaken by Bella and Tallis into this situation results in their uncovering of local government corruption and a large, commercial marijuana plantation. This simple plot allows for a complex investigation of many issues and situations that confront young people living in regional and remote areas and at the same time celebrates the beauty of the Australian bush and the importance of community. Section Two: An Hermeneutical Examination of Steel Riders is a circular investigation of the journey to creativity which investigates the ways in which the lived experience feeds the creative impulse. The fictional town of Sandon, where Steel Riders is set, is based on the real-life coal-mining town of Collie in Western Australia where I have lived for a number of years. My experiences before I came to Collie and my "life-relation" (Bultmann, 1986, p. 243) to that town, my researches into the history of the town, and my friendships with the local residents, both Nyungah and Wadgela, are interrogated within the context of the Hermeneutic Circle and the work of Johann Martin Chladenius (1742/1986) and Johann Gustav Droysen (1858/J 986). Steel Riders features a number of Indigenous characters and I have contextualised my position as a white, female writer within a discourse of Aboriginalism as propounded by Bob Hodge and Vijay Mishra (1991 ).