Not a Bush Flâneur ? The Convergent Topographies of Recreational Bushwalking, Floristic Appreciation and Human Embodiment in the Southwest of Western Australia
journal contributionposted on 22.05.2017, 04:52 by John Ryan
Since the Romantic era in Europe, walking has shifted from an obligatory activity tied to livelihood, through mobility, to a recreational pursuit of life quality, engaging the landscape on foot. In the above quotation from the FABC, one of the earliest confederations of independent bushwalking or-ganisations in Australia, three elements make it germane: the bushwalker, the bush itself and the appreciation of the bush. As a therapeutic get-away from the city, bushwalking is amenable to “the mind and the body” and remedies the effects of urban stressors like “hustle and bustle.” Through walking, the urban dweller assumes the persona of an early European explorer − say John Eyre or Alexander von Humboldt − who charted terra nullius “where no man has trod before,” or at least no European human. Most significantly, the recreational bushwalker, who would have typically been a male member of the upper-classes, experiences a transformation of values, realising that the bush looms largely beyond the horizon of city life, and its urban, suburban and rural spheres of organisation and commerce.