The Drovers Wife

10 October 2016

It is often the men who receive all the glory while the women suffer silently in the background. In the movie ‘Australia’ Baz Luhrman sheds light on the life of one of these heroic women as she struggles to keep her child safe in the Australian bush. The drover’s wife is an interesting character, much like Lady Ashley in regards to the complexity of her character. She is a sturdy, strong and very self-reliant woman who has to make the best of her situation. After the drover leaves for his seasonal droving the wife is left all alone.

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She has to care for the house, the kids as well as everything that may come up. The snake arriving is just one incident. The woman acts with calmness and ease when the bot first notices the snake. She doesn’t get her or her kids stressed out but maintains control of the situation. This control and ease the woman has really draws upon her quality for reacting appropriately in an emergency and potentially fatal situation. This really shows how the woman has to be in total control as there is no man around who could help her. She puts into place quick effective measures to protect herself and the children.

Lady Ashley is portrayed as a strong and independent woman, yet there is another side to the woman, she is lonely and misses having someone take care of her. She shows much vulnerability when the drover is yet to go on another drove and she gives him an ultimatum to either stay or never come back and he chooses to leave her and for days she is upset and crying, but yet again she pushes through and moves on until he is yet to come back into her life when he saves Nula. Nula is the main symbol in the movie Australia; he represents Lady Ashley’s eakness and shows another side of her than what you get to see when Nula is not in the scene. When Nula gets on the boat ready to go to the island where the Half-Cast children go the camera zooms out and spins around Lady Ashley’s body and head, showing the hurt and heart break running through her. The music and suspense with the camera function ties you into the movie and makes you feel as if you know exactly what lady Ashley is going through. The drover’s wife also shows vulnerability even though both stories are all about independent, strong women.

The very end of the story after the snake is killed the woman begins to cry. The power behind this is that she kept calm throughout the whole situation but only afterwards does she allow herself to feel stressed and afraid. This highlights the determination of her character put also gives her more humanistic traits as she cries over her missing husband and her want to be cared for. This more sincere side also appears when she is sitting calmly by the fireside watching over her children. Her maternal qualities really begin to shine through.

She is quiet and calm and looks as she allows her children to sleep. She stays up all night just to protect them. Lawson’s admiration of women is evident in the portrayal of a strong and independent female protagonist. The drover’s wife fights many battles without her husband, and each struggle makes her stronger. She thinks about some of the difficulties she has faced in her life while she keeps watch for a snake that has slithered under the house. She remembers when one of her children died and “she rode nineteen miles for assistance, carrying the dead child”.

This must have been a traumatic experience for her, but the bush woman was able to move on and deal with other obstacles in which she faced. The drover’s wife recalls the fire that almost destroyed her home. She took on the role of her husband, wearing his trousers while she snuffed out the flames with a branch. Lady Ashley and The Drovers wife, are women in the bush, both these stories have extraordinary characters. Both women strive to do their best and always see the glass as half full. The way in which the drover wife is written is phenomenal and it draws you in.

Alligator is a main symbol in this text as it shows that the drover’s wife is in need of a hand while her husband is gone and always needs someone supporting her as she is all her children’s support system. Lady Ashley does not have a support of this kind, but in the movie Australia the drover is her support and while he is gone Nula is what gets her through, yet he does not support her. Both these stories are about women, in which every women should aspire to be like, strong and willing. Word Count: 854.

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