Review Blog

Oct 09 2007

Cedar, seals and whaling ships by John Nicholson

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2007 $29.95
(Age 9+) This is the second book in Nicholson's series of books, called Transport, trade and travel in Australia, 1788-1830s, and is a detailed account of Australia's need to find a strong trading focus in the early days of European settlement. Each of the 5 chapters outlines a particular theme, from the first which tells about the early settlement and the attempts to move along the coast, the second about different attempts to make money from the sea, the third about early farming, the fourth about building the roads to the inland and the last about shipbuilding and the development of overseas trade. Each chapter is well supported by Nicholson's wonderful drawings, and is further rounded with lists, statistics and maps. A glossary and index are contained on the last page.

For a young history student the series is admirable, giving a short peep at momentous issues in our early European history, but I am surprised that there is no use made of sub headings and main words made bold, fact boxes or time lines. Each of these could have added more gravity to the books. But this aside, the book gives some wonderfully exciting information about the early years in Australia's recent history, making it a useful resource in the primary school library.
Fran Knight

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