Posted by: Lisa Hill | April 12, 2009

We of the Never-Never (1908), by Mrs Aeneas Gunn, audio-book read by Marie-Louise Walker

we-of-the-never-neverThis is an iconic work which featured on most school reading lists for many years because it portrayed the outback way of life. Written in 1905, it tells the apparently true story of Mrs Aeneas (Jeannie) Gunn who left Melbourne for the Northern Territory where her husband was manager of the cattle station ‘Elsey’. She was the first white woman in the area, and had to overcome the suspicion and diffidence of men, as well as her own doubts and fears.

The early parts of the story are amusing. but as the tale progresses it becomes less interesting, and I gave up on it after the 4th CD.   The plucky heroine began to grate, and I couldn’t help flinching at the patronising way Aborigines were described, even though she was probably more enlightened than most people were in her era.  I can’t say that I’ll be looking out for her other book, The Little Black Princess either …

Author: Mrs Aeneas (Jeannie) Gunn
Title: We of the Never-Never
Publisher: Bolinda Audio, first published 1908
Source: Kingston Library

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