Review Blog

Apr 22 2020

Eureka!: A story of the goldfields by Mark Wilson

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Eureka!: A story of the goldfields by Mark Wilson
Lothian Children's, 2020. ISBN: 9780734416810. 40pp., hbk.
Highly recommended. Like thousands and thousands of others, Molly and her father have emigrated to Australia to try their luck as gold prospectors in Ballarat, Victoria. Life on the diggings is hard and Molly misses her mother, who died before they left England.
A Chinese teenager, Chen, shows Molly and her Papa how to pan for gold and helps them when their food and money run out. Not everyone on the goldfields is friendly, however. Chen and other Chinese diggers are often bullied and
the police lock up miners who haven't paid the exorbitant gold licence fee. Before long, Molly, Papa and Chen are caught up in a protest that will become known as the Eureka Rebellion - a legendary battle that will profoundly affect them all.
Based on a true story, this intricately illustrated story gives an insight into what life was like on the Victorian goldfields particularly from the perspectives of a young girl and that of being Chinese.  For the Chinese were not welcome, were not trusted and racism regularly raised its ugly head.
For those for whom a study of the goldfields is on the curriculum, this is an excellent example of how history can be accessed through a narrative and enable young readers to get a more human insight into the time that bare facts and figures do not offer. This is what Mark Wilson does best and in this, he is at his best.
Barbara Braxton

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