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In south-eastern Australia the journeying practice known as 'the bushwalk' depends on the experience of 'unspoiled' or 'wilderness' settings. An extended remote experience is a core feature of most outdoor education programs, and is usually a highlight of courses of study (Martin, 2008). An example is the three week 'long walk' through the alpine and foothill landscape of Kosciuszko National Park in the Bachelor of Arts (Outdoor Education) course at La Trobe University, Bendigo. The subject outline for this trip specifies the walk's purposes and character by stating that students will gain "knowledge and skills required to undertake an extended journey in a remote natural environment and consolidate their outdoor education journey skills, environmental knowledge, and introductory outdoor leadership skills" (La Trobe University Handbook, 2009). Such a program demands self-reliance and survival skills, personal discipline, fitness and endurance, group formation and identity. However, the assumption that these qualities are pre-eminently desirable has recently attracted critics in outdoor education circles in Australia (Brookes, 2003a, 2003b; Martin, 2007; Payne & Wattchow, 2008; Slattery, 2004; Stewart, 2004, 2006). These authors argue variously that experience of the self and the group tends to dominate participants' experiences and they propose practices that are more responsive to landscape and wider culture. Brookes, Slattery and Stewart suggest that the relationship to land required by the remote area journey is a continuation of colonial frameworks of exploration and conquest, and that its unwitting acceptance can undermine more sympathetic attitudes to land in Australia.

Professionnel et technique
1 juillet
Outdoor Council of Australia

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