Stooking the peanuts: an emphemeral landscape in Northeast New South Wales
Boyd, WE 2004, 'Stooking the peanuts: an emphemeral landscape in Northeast New South Wales', Proceedings of Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, Adelaide, 13-16 April, Institute of Australian Geographers, Glenelg, SA.
Popular interest in seasonal landscapes reflects the importance of ephemera in people’s appreciation landscapes. Scale of landscape quality is reduced from the long-term, favoured in landscape management at annual and decadal time scales, and quality becomes ephemeral, allowing people to use scales of direct human experience to identify and define landscapes. Brassley, reviewing the unrecognized significance of the ephemeral landscape, notes that permanent components are managed through planning instruments; while ephemera may be crucial to landscape appearance, they are the mostly unremarked in the academic literature of landscape. Here, we examine an ephemeral landscape, the landscape of historic peanut farming that remains, in small pockets, in northern New South Wales. Visually distinctive, it features cropping that places, for a short time each year, peanuts in rows of stooks, small circular stacks of harvested plants built around a tomato stake and capped by a sack, to dry the peanuts immediately after harvesting. We reflect on the cultural context of this ephemeral landscape, covering matters such as: aesthetic responses; landscape evaluation; touristic interactions; landscape educational; cultural readings of landscapes and people‚s formulation of self and community identity; iconic significance. We will close by placing this cultural phenomenon into an environmental management context.