This is a long novel, a tapestry of life in Rural Queensland with all the characters, the localities, the climate and the social life so finely pictured that not a single aspect of the portrayal jars. Inevitable I was reminded of John Steinbecks wonderful pen pictures of rural America and the unique characters who dwelt therein. The story line is good and well maintained. The language is rough but not aggressively ocker and laced with typical wit. The racial prejudice is infiltrated throughout the story so imperceptibly that it becomes almost acceptable as a normal attitude, as does the behaviour of the senior policeman in the small station. It is only as the story draws to its rather horrifying conclusion that the reader begins to realise in full its skilful condemnation of the average Australians apathy towards bad social attitudes and political intrigues. This is not to suggest that the tale degenerates into a lecture on morality. It is an excellent read throughout and I believe could rank among the outstanding outback sagas of Australian life.
Thee men want to control a local township in the hot North West of Queensland. Ernie Collins, the local police sergeant believes that he has the authority to keep the Aborigines living in the nearby community under control. Bluey Walters believes that this is his territory. He enjoys visiting women who are forced to stay at home while their partners work outside. He comes into their homes by offering to sell them items of clothing. Ray Walden is looking to improve the social conditions of the local Aborigines so that they can increase their living standard and live at the same level as their neighbours in Leichhardt. Bluey manages to seduce Ernies wife as she struggles with the isolation, heat and loneliness of a constantly absent husband. Ernie is deeply angered by this affair and vows revenge. During the course of this revenge Ray gets caught up in a riot at Boomallooba and dies in custody. Ernie covers up this problem but another policeman is killed in the cover up. The original inhabitants of the region continue to suffer in their poverty and isolation.
Year Written: 2020
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