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George Dunderdale (1822-1903), was born in Lancashire and worked as a schoolteacher in Illinois before joining the gold rush to Australia in 1853. He then became clerk of courts and a customs officer in Victoria( then Gippsland) This book was written in 1898, and relates many stories of the early settlers in both the US and Australia.
The stories are both tragic and comic at the same time, related in the simple style of a schoolteacher. What is striking is that the author recognises the cruelties and injustices of the time, the brutality meted out by anyone with power over those who had none; the aborigines, blacks, convicts, or the poor and inarticulate. There are also some wonderfully satirical caricatures of government officers. He wrote this in 1898 but his voice could quite easily be of today.
Anyone who has been to Australia or is thinking of going there should read this. Anyone who is Australian or knows someone from Australia should read this. Anybody who entertains ideas of white supremacy should read this. It is an awakening.
There is the usual criticism of the Kindle edition which is that there are no illustrations. Of course one can always buy the paperback.
Great read tragic, funny and informative yet all true. Very easy to put down and pick up so great for travelling. Although written 100 years ago the writing style is very easy to follow. Should be included on the history reading list for Aussie UK schoolkids!
The author was an Englishman who led a varied and exciting life. He writes of his tales of adventure and travel in the mid 19th Century. He visited many countries and saw a lot of "history in the making". The book was published in 1895 when he was in his 70's.
I had to take several weeks to finish this book because reading it was like visiting an elderly relative who has a tendency to ramble on a bit. A little and often ( unless i had a better book on the go). The Author wanders through the book scattering his reminisces all over the place. Unless you pay close attention you find yourself transported from Australia to NZ to God knows where in the space of a paragraph, and you have to re-read it again.
Nonetheless there are lots of interesting anecdotes and not too many tall tales.
An interesting insight into the birth of several nations.
I really enjoyed this book, as I have become interested in Australian History since finding that one of my ancestors was transported to Australia in 1802, and this book made me realise how hard it was for the early settlers.
I found it informative,entertaining, sad and funny at times well worth the read quite grown up story without any swearing which is a change these days it is written as an old fashioned story about a time in our history which made me think what the people in the story had to put up with.
more oil than the casks would hold, so the men dug clay pits on shore, and poured the oil into them. The oil from forty-five whales was put into the pits, but the clay absorbed every spoonful of it, and nothing but bones was gained from so much slaughter.
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As everyone knows, the twelve virtues of a good master are Gravity, Silence, Humility, Prudence, Wisdom, Patience, Discretion, Meekness, Zeal, Vigilance, Piety, and Generosity.