Back to the Old House
Lost child stories have appeared so frequently in our national literature that a vast critical discourse has grown around them. As Peter Pierce suggests, these stories have long been used by white Australians to work through settler anxieties of unbelonging. Elspeth Tilley argues that ‘white vanishing’ narratives, compulsively retold, enable white Australians to assume a victim position. While the search for the lost child offers a chance for the community to rally, assert its heroic qualities, the lost white child functions as a symbol of national innocence, obscuring a history of violent dispossession.