Review Blog

Sep 26 2012

Life on the goldfields by Doug Bradby

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Black Dog Books, 2012. ISBN 978 1 742042 13 9.
(Ages: 9+) Recommended. Non Fiction. Australian History. Black Dog Books' series, Our Stories has produced some fascinating and most useful books for the home and classroom. Allied to the renewed interest in Australia's History, these books are concerned with Ned Kelly, the Kokoda Track, Burke and Wills and the latest, Life on the goldfields. Each of these books gives an overview of the topic to be spoken about and the double page on each of the sections is covered with information, pictures, photographs and maps makes it easier for the student to read. For this latest book, the recognized format has changed to make it more text based, rather than small bites of information. I found this an odd change, considering the different ways in which students now gather the information they need, but still interesting, and I am sure students will pick out the information they are searching for.
For the goldfields, we are firstly acquainted with the reason so many people wanted to leave England and why and how they did so. I was surprised to read that so many were literate, and intrigued with the facts given about the voyage to Australia. Chapters following include getting to the diggings, life on the diggings, the food and shelter, how women (diggeresses!) and children fared, the mining accidents and then finally a summary of what this event did for Australia. The photographs and drawings are interesting and some are new to me, while I longed for a map of the places mentioned.
At the back is a useful index, and glossary, and as with the others in this series, is a pleasure to dip into or use as a research tool.
Fran Knight

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