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Australians Volume 1: Origins to Eureka

by Thomas Keneally

Convicts and Aborigines, settlers and soldiers, patriots and reformers, bushrangers and gold seekers, it is from their lives and their stories that he has woven a vibrant history to do full justice to the rich and colourful nature of our unique national character.

The story begins by looking at European occupation through Aboriginal eyes as we move between the city slums and rural hovels of eighteenth century Britain and the shores of Port Jackson. We spend time on the low-roofed convict decks of transports, and we see the bewilderment of the Eora people as they see the first ships of turaga, or ‘ghost people’. We 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. We follow the treks of the Chinese diggers – the Celestials – to the goldfields, and revolutionaries like Italian Raffaello Carboni and black American John Joseph bring us the drama of the Eureka uprising.

Were the first European mothers whores or matriarchs? Was the first generation of Australian children the luckiest or unluckiest on the planet? How did this often cruel and brutal penal experiment lead to a coherent civil society? To answer these and many more questions Thomas 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, and whose own humanity permeates every page.

Winner, ABIA (Australian Book Industry Awards) General Non-fiction Book of the Year, 2010

 

‘No doubt about it, Australians is a corker.’  Cassandra Pybus, Weekend Australian

‘…the story of Australia and the Australians could be in no better hands than Keneally’s.’  West Australian

‘Keneally evokes these distant lives with concrete detail and vivid sympathy…his people inhabit the same world we do – we meet them without the hesitation of reaching across voids of space and time.’  Sydney Morning Herald

‘[Australians]will appeal to the general reader and the avid historian alike, and this is only the first volume. This reader can’t wait for the second.’  Bookseller + Publisher


Overview

Publisher
Released
01 September, 2009

About Thomas Keneally

Thomas Keneally was born in 1935 in country New South Wales to Irish Catholic parents. As a child he dreamed of becoming a famous sportsman. In 1958 he entered the seminary but left in 1960 before being ordained. He had a number of different jobs and became for a time a schoolteacher. Keneally published his first book The Place at Whitton in 1964. He won the Miles Franklin Award in consecutive years for his novels Bring Larks and Heroes (1967) and Three Cheers for the Paraclete(1968). He was shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times before being the first Australian ever to win it, in 1982, for Schindler’s Ark. This book formed the basis of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar Award-winning film Schindler’s List. His novel The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith was made into a film by Fred Schepisi. The author played a cameo role. Thomas Keneally has written over thirty books, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as plays and essays. He is an ardent Republican and was the founding chairman of the Australian Republican Movement. In 1983, Keneally became a member of The Order of Australia and in 1997 was named as an Australian Living Treasure.



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