Review Blog

Mar 08 2017

Our fathers cleared the bush: Remembering Eyre Peninsula by Jill Roe

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Wakefield Press, 2016. ISBN 9781743054291
(Age: 14+) Local history. The resonating title of 'Our fathers cleared the bush' conjured up for me issues of theft of Aboriginal land. Jill Roe's book however does not dwell very long on the Aboriginal experience, giving it only a chapter towards the end; she reveals the violent frontier and the Elliston massacre. Over all, her book is more a mix of historical research and personal memories of the generations of men and their families who settled across Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, with chapters on country life, water as a vital resource, the school bus and the isolated one teacher schools, farming, agricultural shows, Church and community. Roe's grandparents were early settlers, and Roe herself was born at Tumby Bay in 1940, so she is able to draw on childhood memories which add interest and authenticity to the research. The book, illustrated with black and white photographs, is a valuable record of country life in South Australia in the 1940's, 50's, 60's and onwards.
Helen Eddy

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