Review Blog

Jan 04 2013

Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

cover image

Penguin group 2012. First published by Ward Lock, 1894. ISBN 9780670076871.
It was my first time reading this Australian classic and I soon found myself engrossed in the story of these unruly children as they got up to all kinds of mischief. At first the numerous children were confusing but as each personality became more defined the characters took on a life of their own as they shared a story from the past.
This distinctly Australian story tells us about the mischief of the seven Woolcot children at their home of Misrule. After leaving The General at the barracks with their father, Judy Woolcot, the ringleader and instigator of the seven's mischievous enterprises is sent away to boarding school. While she is gone her brothers and sisters become somewhat tamer and less mischievous however when Judy returns from boarding school she is in ill health and makes her siblings promise to keep her return a secret from their father and inexperienced step-mother. However it isn't long before The Captain discovers Judy in a disused loft in a state of utter vulnerability, the doctor is called and a holiday is suggested. However this is a holiday which is to have disastrous results for the Woolcot family.
Throughout the novel a number of issues are observed including the implications of irresponsibility, vanity and selfishness, and while the author states that Australian children are never good she wrote in the hope that they might become aware of the consequences which accompany them. I would recommend this book for children and families as it is full of life lessons and cautions as well as being one of those uniquely Australian novels.
Kayla Gaskell (age 16)

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