A Saddle at Bontharambo – H. J. Samuel

Posted on 11 February 2010. Filed under: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , |

I haven’t planned to write anything today but I feel you’re due for something and as I’m flat out getting books onto the website I’ll just publish this review I wrote some time ago but never published due to it’s short length. You’re getting it tonight just because!

This is a very nicely written book. It is written from the original diaries of the Docker family and tells how young Mary Docker, her brothers and sisters and their parents, travelled westward along Major Mitchell’s newly discovered trail and experience excitement and danger in the unexplored bush. Crossing flooded rivers, meeting the Aborigines for the first time, fighting bushfires, an encounter with Morgan the bushranger – these are just some of the adventures that befall this family of settlers as they struggle to establish their home at ‘Bontharambo’, in the plains of north-eastern Victoria, Australia.

In the mid 1800’s Victoria was mostly bush and forest, very hard to traverse most especially travelling with young children in a horse and cart. They would have only been able to travel a very short distance each day and they had all sorts of dangers to encounter such as rivers to be forded. They might have had bridges but some of them might also have been washed away. There were also Aboriginals who may or may not have been friendly depending on how much contact they’d had with white people and if that contact was positive or negative. This is just the journey to get to their new home. It must have been really challenging and without this book I couldn’t even begin to imagine what life must have been like for them.

It’s currently for sale on the Suz’s Space website along with other books suitable for preteens.

Just as a total non sequiteur I’m going to give you a link. It’s a live web cam in South Africa and sometimes they have elephants. How’s that for a non sequiteur.


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