This classic Australian novel perfectly captures the spirit of the bush and the tough, resilient people of the outback
Everyone has their cross to bear – their swag, their shiralee – and for Macauley, walking across New South Wales in search of work, it is his young daughter who has to suffer his resentment at having her in tow. But then, he discovers that the ties that bind can be as much a comfort as a burden, and what he thought of as his Shiralee could be the one thing that will save him from himself.
D'Arcy Niland was born in Glen Innes, New South Wales, and spent much of his boyhood travelling with his Irish father. He began work as a copyboy on the Sydney Sun but soon left to travel the country, where he led an adventurous life, working in a wide variety of jobs - as an opal miner, circus hand, stevedor and woolshed rouse about.
He married the writer, Ruth Park, in 1942 and they settled in Sydney where Niland worked as a writer, television and film scriptwriter and magazine editor. He died suddenly in 1967, two days after completing his last novel; he was forty-seven. The Shiralee, with its insights into fatherhood, confirms that he understood the human heart as well as he knew the country roads of Australia.