Crux. (Southern Cross)

Philip Bunting Crux Southern Cross illustration

For our non-antipodean friends, Southern Cross is another name for a constellation called Crux. The constellation is highly visible in the night sky throughout the Southern Hemisphere, although it can also be seen from as far north as 25°N (think Hawaii, Southern India, North Africa, Cuba kinda latitude).

I used Crux as a visual marker in Mopoke, as an indicator of place and time. It is drawn on a deliberate tilt, as this is how the constellation is seen from Queensland, Australia (where the book was written) in late March (the time of year that both of my children were born).

It’s not to be taken as a misplaced symbol of Australian patriotism – far from it – Crux belongs to nobody. If you’re anywhere on the Southern Hemisphere (or even over the equator, up to 25°N at the right time of year) you can see the Southern Cross. It belongs to nobody. It belongs to everybody.

An arrangement of far-away suns seen from a particular place and time should only ever inspire thoughts of wonder, joy and mind-boggling awe. Anyone who thinks the Southern Cross belongs to them should really think about giving it back.