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We of the Never-Never by Mrs. Aeneas Gunn

We of the Never-Never (1908)

by Mrs. Aeneas Gunn

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Mrs Aeneas Gunn, as she was long known, wrote this pivotal Australian text from the first years of the 20th century, the story of the only white woman on a massive station in the outback. Gunn's writing is engaging and well-versed, and the story rarely lapses into melodrama, if only because we have to keep remembering that this is drawn from life - just on a magnified scale.

Of course, it's easy (and fair) to grimace at Gunn's portrayal of non-white people, not to mention her own less-than-progressive views on her role as a woman. But the lady was born in 1870, and she was content to be a pioneer in her on ways without getting enveloped in the still cloudy issue of feminism. As with many books of this kind, we can't necessarily blame Gunn for all of her stereotyping, we can simply ensure that we read with a critical eye, and treat this book as an important historical and literary piece - especially in terms of what it tells us about the role of women and the approach to the outback. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
A feel-good recount of a year in the Australian outbush in 1902, it romanticises the tough bush life with its beautiful imagery of the landscape and the optimistic promises of a new home. There's a distinct sly, dry humour underlying the novel where everybody walks around with a twinkle in their eye.The life is painted as one that is almost impossibly perfect and full of humorous, good-hearted people who survive and thrive in an isolation where mail only comes every six weeks. Then this mirage is given a dose of reality with period racism and slurs or with a recount of the fate of the previous postman. Even though current tastes have moved towards more realistic portrayals of the outback, I can't begrudge Jeannie Gunn her charmed and charming year knowing its sad demise.

Aside: Fizzer needs to write his own book. ( )
  kitzyl | Sep 24, 2016 |
Memoir of early life of European ranchers in Australia ( )
  nospi | Feb 7, 2016 |
the bookcover image goodreads uploaded here is not We of the Never Never.= have fixed that. ( )
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
Very interesting description of life on a station in Northern Australia in the early 1900's. Women were not exactly welcome, but Mrs. Gunn earned respect of the station hands.Austrailia, early 1900's, bush country ( )
  Cyss | May 14, 2009 |
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The Bush folk of the Never-Never
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To begin somewhere near the beginning, the Maluka―better known at that time as the new Boss for the Elsey―and I, his "missus", were at Darwin, in the Northern Territory, waiting for the train that was to take us just as far as it could―one hundred and fifty miles―on our way to the Never-Never.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 142641630X, Paperback)

Short excerpt: Then Darwin came in twos and threes to discuss the situation, and while the men offered every form of service and encouragement, the women-folk spoke of a woman "going bush" as sheer madness.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:50 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In 1902, newly-married Jeannie Gunn (Mrs Aeneas Gunn) left the security and comfort of her Melbourne home to travel to the depths of the Northern Territory, where her husband had been appointed manager of 'The Elsey', a large cattle station. One of the very few white women in the area, she was at first resented by people on and around the station, till her warmth and spirit won their affection and respect. She had an unerring ear and eye for the sounds and sights of the country; and this is her moving and simple account of her life amidst the beauty and cruelty of the land, and the isolation and loneliness - together with the comradeship and kindness of those around her. The favourite of generations of Australians since it was first published in 1908, We of the Never-Never can truly be called a classic.

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