Home: A Journey Through Australia
"A passionate yet fiercely critical insider's comment on our country by award-winning novelist and poet, Rodney Hall. Home is no banal travelogue, but rather the best of all armchair reading - a thoughtful commentary imbued with the author's deep affecton for the ageless mystery of the land and the idiosyncrasies of its people."
When I was a child in England during the Second World War we lived at Stroud in Gloucesteshire. This small Cotswold town was not a target for the Germans, of course, but Swansea was. Homebound enemy bombers, being harassed by RAF fighters, off-loaded their remaining bombs to gain maximum height (their chief defensive manoeuvre) and speed. These were the bombs which occasionally, randomly and quite unmaliciously, fell our way.
When the sirens sounded, my widowed mother marshalled us into a team, my elder brother and sister and myself, to wheel the settee across the floor till the back rested against the keyboard of our majestic upright piano (of German make), forming a tunnel which might safely house us when the roof fell in. Quite reasonable supposing we might be terrified - which we were, though I also recall it as a lively relief from dull routines - my mother sought to distract us by bringing out a box of special photographs. These pictures, kept in a Players 100 tin were taken during her adolescence when the family still lived at Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales.
From the Minerva paperback edition, 1990.
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Last modified: December 9, 2004.