Seven Little Australians

Seven Little Australians

by Ethel Turner, Sandra Laroche (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 176 pages
Not in stock

Seven Little Australians has, for generations, been much loved by the Australian reading public. Ethel Turner's novel, remarkable in that it was written when the author was just twenty-two, was first published in 1894. Since then it has been reprinted many times.

Seven Little Australians is the story of seven very lively and very different personalities who live with their father, Captain Woolcot, and their young stepmother, Esther, in a house which is situated some distance up the Parramatta River. The house is, very aptly, named "Misrule"—for the children, growing up in Australia during the 1890s, reflect many of the qualities of a young country, "a lurking sparkle of joyousness and rebellion and mischief."

The children were in fact ill-disciplined. Their father, Captain Woolcot, was a military man and spent much of his time at the Barracks; he found his children costly and difficult to understand. Esther, their stepmother, with her own baby "the General" to look after, was only twenty. Meg (the eldest) was, at sixteen, of too gentle a disposition to control the mischievous and inventive natures of Judy (fifteen), "the worst of the seven," and her loyal ally, Pip, who was a year younger. Nell and Baby, at ten and four respectively, inevitably fell into the scrapes devised by their elder brother and sister; and greedy, fat Bunty was able to attract his father's wrath and Esther's despair quite unaided.

Ethel Turner has effectively evoked an Australia of calmer times and more simple delights—of ferry boats that plied the Parramatta River, of Bondi trams, the excitement of a long distance train journey to the outlying cattle station of "Yarrahappini," and the incomparable pleasures of a bush picnic.

The sensitive watercolours of Sandra Laroche, with their meticulous attention to detail, faithfully recreate the period and add a further dimension to Ethel Turner's seven lively characters. Seven Little Australians is a volume to be treasured, from one generation to the next.

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