Monday, July 31, 2017


A  recent  visitor to the Little Darwin cluttered den is  a well  read  Englishman who  has spent time in China and  now lives  in  Queensland.  While  discussing books , he   said  he  has  a  penchant   for  early  Readers   for   Queensland  schools , issued by the Department of  Education ,   stuffed  with stories  from  British  history  and  literature  and   very  little   Australian content .

It just  so happened  that  we  had a number of  1960s  Readers  , one ex  Dalby State School , stamped  July 10 1968,  which  were  fortunately  located  without much  trouble ,  and  we  leafed  through  them .

Our delighted  visitor laughed , pointed out  in a  1960 volume  stories relating  to  buying  a  cow  in  France ,  Robert Browning's  Home Thoughts  from Abroad , How Hereward  Interviewed  the King ,The Unknown  (British ) Warrior , The Canadian Boat  song by Thomas Moore , An  Adventure on Salisbury Plain ,  two Dickens  stories -The  Cratchits ' Dinner Party  and Mr  Winkle on Skates  , (British) Heroes of  the (Indian ) Mutiny ,  Waterloo , How  England Held  the Lists at Bordeaux, The Conqueror of  Smallpox,  A Fight with Pirates ....

Surprise, surprise -The Quiet Stockman , from  We of the Never Never   by Mrs Aeneas  Gunn, described as one of the finest  Australian stories , an account of  one year, 1902,  in the life  of  bush folk in  the  "out back "of   the Northern Territory .  Another  Australian  item   was  Henry Kendall's  The Last of His Tribe , the poet described as one of Australia's greatest, brought up and educated in the bush ,  generally regarded as  the " sweetest of  Australia's singers"  and  like Wordsworth , a poet of  nature .

A 1967 edition at least  opened with  a  poem ,  The Australian , by  Roderic Quinn , which had an associated  frontispiece of a man ploughing a field, the illustration used  in  other editions ,   and  Henry Lawson and his dog  got a run , as  did  Victor  J. Daley with A-Roving .