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Lady Bridget in the Never-Never Land

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By: (1852-1935)

Following a failed love affair in England, Lady Bridget O'Hara accepts an invitation to travel to colonial Australia as companion to Lady Rosamund Tallant, the wife of the newly-appointed governor of Leichardt's Land. In Leichardt's Town, Lady Bridget, also known as Biddy, is reunited with her old friend and collaborator, Joan Gildea, special correspondent for The Imperialist newspaper. While visiting Joan, Biddy meets Colin McKeith, a roughly-hewn, Scottish-born pioneer, drover, miner, sometime-politician, and magistrate in the north-eastern colony. Biddy and Colin fall in love: she with the adventure a life with him promises, he with an ideal of her noble heritage. In spite of Joan Gildea's misgivings, Biddy and Colin are soon married and leave Leichardt's Town to travel several days north to Colin's cattle property in a region known as the Leura. As Biddy and Colin embark on their life together, the contemporary issues of colonial Australia are revealed: the extreme environment, labour shortages and organisation, police brutality, immigration policy, and the plight of Australia's First Peoples. The couple discover fundamental differences in their perspectives on many topics. When Bridget's former love, Willoughby Maule, newly-widowed and affluent, visits her in the Leura, the couple's strained relationship is further tested.

First Page:

LADY BRIDGET IN THE NEVER NEVER LAND.

by

Rosa Praed (1851 1935)

(1915)

CONTENTS

BOOK I FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF MRS GILDEA

BOOK II FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF LADY BRIDGET O'HARA

BOOK III FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF COLIN MCKEITH AND OTHERS

BOOK I

FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF MRS GILDEA

CHAPTER 1

Mrs Gildea had settled early to her morning's work in what she called the veranda study of her cottage in Leichardt's Town. It was a primitive cottage of the old style, standing in a garden and built on the cliff the Emu Point side overlooking the broad Leichardt River. The veranda, quite twelve feet wide, ran Australian fashion along the front of the cottage, except for the two closed in ends forming, one a bathroom and the other a kind of store closet. Being raised a few feet above the ground, the veranda was enclosed by a wooden railing, and this and the supporting posts were twined with creepers that must have been planted at least thirty years. One of these, a stephanotis, showed masses of white bloom, which Joan Gildea casually reflected would have fetched a pretty sum in Covent Garden, and, joining in with a fine growing asparagus fern, formed an arch over the entrance steps... Continue reading book >>


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