Australians - Vol. 1

Australians - Vol. 1

Australians - Vol. 1

Australians - Vol. 1

Synopsis

The outstanding first volume of acclaimed author Thomas Keneally's major new three-volume history of Australia brings to life the vast range of characters who have formed Australia's national story Convicts and Aborigines, settlers and soldiers, patriots and reformers, bushrangers and gold seekers-it is from their lives and their stories that Tom Keneally has woven a vibrant history to do full justice to the rich and colorful nature of Australia's unique national character. The story begins by looking at European occupation through Aboriginal eyes, moving between the city slums and rural hovels of 18th-century Britain and the shores of Port Jackson. Readers spend time on the low-roofed convict decks of transports and see the bewilderment of the Eora people as they see the first ships of turaga, or "ghost people." They follow the daily round of Bennelong and his wife Barangaroo and the tribulations of warrior Windradyne. Convicts like Solomon Wiseman and John Wilson find their feet and even fortune, while Henry Parkes' arrival as a penniless immigrant gives few clues to the national statesman he was to become. Chinese diggers trek to the goldfields, and revolutionaries like Italian Raffaello Carboni and black American John Joseph bring readers the drama of the Eureka uprising. Tom Keneally has brought to life the high and the low, the convict and the free of early Australian society. This is truly a new history of Australia, by an author of outstanding literary skill and experience, whose own humanity permeates every page.

Excerpt

DINNER AT GUDDIE SPRINGS

Once there was the All-Sea. Its brew of water and minerals and biology covered the planet. Then the first stones, sediments and bacteria of the great landmass Pangaea broke the surface of the encompassing ocean. They can still be found, these first gestures of ground, the original Mother Earth, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The question of whether Australia is old or young jangles in the Australian imagination.

At Taronga Zoo in Sydney there is a globe, at child height, showing Pangaea, the great agglomerated landmass, which remained one huge slab of earth for so long and began to break apart only about 140 million years ago. Pangaea is shown at the zoo in cut sections. A child can move the solid shapes which once made up the enormous single earth-mass on grooves, to create Laurasia in the north and Gondwana, the great southern super-continent. Then, further grooves on the surface enable the child to separate Gondwana into India, Africa, South America, Antarctica and Australia, and slide them to their present locations on the globe. Each of the pieces on this globe is marked with graphics, and as the god-playing child separates Australia from the massive Gondwana, he or she can see pictures of Australian fauna and mega-fauna abandoning the old mother super-continent, choosing Australia as their Mesozoic zoo. The separation of Australia from the rest of Gondwana began 45 million years ago.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.