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The Gilpins and their Fortunes A Story of Early Days in Australia   By: (1814-1880)

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The Gilpins, A Story of Early Days in Australia, by William H G Kingston.

The story opens with a couple of school leavers discussing what they will do with their lives. One of the boys, a Gilpin, whose father is a hard working farmer, is determined to go along the same route, but in Australia, as he and his brother have often dreamt of doing.

They reach Australia, and an incident on the Quay in Sydney, where they save a family from destruction in a carriage whose horses have bolted, makes them valuable friends, leading to an appointment as managers, or overseers, of a cattle and sheep station somewhere out beyond the Blue Mountains. The previous manager had let the place get run down, and was actually rather a crook. Some of the other workers on the station were as idle and crooked as he. Not surprising as most of them had been sent to Australia for some offence in England. A few of the men were decent enough. There is such resentment among the idle men that they prevail upon some aborigines to attack the buildings and set them on fire, a plan which is foiled by one of the better workers.

Eventually the great Australian bubble bursts (the Australian economy is always a bit overheated) and the Gilpins are ordered to slaughter the cattle and sheep. They discover a source of salt on the station, so they are able to salt down some of the meat, which was otherwise going to waste.

Using the opportunity of buying valuable stock cheaply, they acquire the station and start the business again. They rescue a drowning man, only to find he is the other schoolboy in the conversation that starts the book. We will leave it to you to find out what his adventures had been.

It takes about 3.5 hours to read this book.



Arthur Gilpin and Mark Withers walked down the High Street, arm in arm, on their return to their respective homes from the well managed school of Wallington.

They were among the head boys, and were on the point of leaving it to enter on the work of active life, and make their way in the world. They had often of late discussed the important question all important, as it seemed to them "How are we to make our way to gain wealth, influence, our hearts' desires?"

"For my part, I cannot stand a plodding style of doing things," said Mark. "It is all very well for those without brains, but a fellow who has a grain of sense in his head requires a more rapid way of making a fortune. Life is too short to be wasted in getting money. I want to have it to spend while I am young and can enjoy it."

Arthur was silent for some time. At length he remarked, "It strikes me, Mark, that the object of making money is that we may support ourselves and families, and help those who are in distress. My father often says to James, and to me, and to the rest of us, `I don't want you, when you enter business, to be thinking only how you can make money. Do your duty, and act liberally towards all men, and you will have a sufficiency at all events, if not wealth.'"

"Oh! your father's old fashioned notions won't do in the world, and certainly won't suit me, that I can tell you," answered Mark, in a scornful tone.

"My father is considered a sensible man. What he preaches he practises; and though he has a very large family, no one calls him a poor man," argued Arthur. "He says that, considering how short life is, it cannot be wise to spend the time, as many men do, in gathering up riches and setting so high a value on them. But here comes James! Let us hear what he has to say on the subject."

"Oh! of course, James has got the same notions from your father that you have, and I am not going to be influenced by him," answered Withers.

James, however, was appealed to, and answered, "Even if we were to live for ever in this world, I should agree with Arthur; for, from all I see and hear, I am convinced that wealth cannot secure happiness; but as this world is only a place of preparation for another, it is evident folly to set one's heart upon what must be so soon parted with... Continue reading book >>

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