Words in Place

A Digital Cartography of Australian Writers and Writing in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra


Welcome to the Words in Place website, a Macquarie University interdepartmental project produced by Dr Toby Davidson (Dept of English) and Dr Donna Houston (Dept of Geography and Planning) with project mentor Prof John Potts, website developer Dr Stephen Collins, field researcher Dr Ian Collinson (Dept of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies) and research assistant Dr Michael Austin.

International literary geography is increasingly mapping places and landscapes of the literary imagination, yet less attention is paid to physical sites which commemorate writers and writing. The first of its kind in Australia, Words in Place provides a useful tool for anyone interested in the intersections between Australian literary heritage and the built environment.

Words in Place interactively maps more than 60 permanent public spaces (excluding graves) which commemorate Australian writing or writers in Sydney (35), Melbourne (15) and Canberra (10) utilising archival, visual, textual, oral, and geocoding methods to produce a digital map accessible from any desktop or mobile device.

Once you zoom in on the map and click on a marked site, photographs, site descriptions, categorisations and hyperlinks will appear. 10 selected sites also feature de-identified audio and transcript interviews with community members who discuss the local significance of the site. You can filter by author (A-Z by surname), genre (e.g. novel, children's literature), commemorative style (e.g. statue, writers' walk) or state (eg. ACT).

While our initial data set from Australia's oldest city, its UNESCO City of Literature and its national capital is now ready, future expansions of this project will likely include other state capital and regional areas with a focus on the recent, the innovative and the unique.

Please address any new site suggestions (Australian writers only) to Toby Davidson at toby.davidson@mq.edu.au with subject heading 'Words in Place'. Happy venturing.

The Map

The literary sites have been plotted onto a Google map. To move around, click and hold the button then move your mouse. Zoom in or out using the plus or minus symbol in the bottom right-hand corner.

The Filter function appears or disappears via the plus or minus symbol in the top right-hand corner. To refine results, adjust the categories then press 'Filter'. Click on a site to reveal images and information.

Visit the map

Contact Words in Place

Please direct all enquiries to Dr Toby Davidson.