9004895568629356307.jpg
Image courtesy of publisher's website.
939162831828705494.jpg
Image courtesy of publisher's website.
y The Secret River single work   novel   historical fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 2005... 2005
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In 1806 William Thornhill, a man of quick temper and deep feelings, is transported from the slums of London to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife Sal and their children he arrives in a harsh land he cannot understand.

'But the colony can turn a convict into a free man. Eight years later Thornhill sails up the Hawkesbury to claim a hundred acres for himself.

'Aboriginal people already live on that river. And other recent arrivals - Thomas Blackwood, Smasher Sullivan and Mrs Herring - are finding their own ways to respond to them.

'Thornhill, a man neither better nor worse than most, soon has to make the most difficult choice of his life.

'Inspired by research into her own family history, Kate Grenville vividly creates the reality of settler life, its longings, dangers and dilemmas. The Secret River is a brilliantly written book, a groundbreaking story about identity, belonging and ownership.' (From the publisher's website.)

Adaptations

y The Secret River Andrew Bovell , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2013 Z1887820 2013 single work drama (taught in 2 units)

'Convict William Thornhill, exiled from the stinking slums of early 19th century London, discovers that the penal colony offers something that he never dared to hope for before: a place of his own. A stretch of land on the Hawkesbury River is Thornhill’s for the taking.'

'As he and his family seek to establish themselves in this unfamiliar territory, they find that they are not the only ones to lay a claim to the land. The Hawkesbury is already home to a family of Dharug people, who are reluctant to leave on account of these intruders.'

As Thornhill’s attachment to the place and the dream deepens, he is driven to make a terrible decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.' (Source: Currency Press website)

form y The Secret River Mac Gudgeon , Jan Sardi , Australia : Ruby Entertainment Australian Broadcasting Corporation , 2015 7504796 2015 series - publisher film/TV historical fiction

'In 1810, emancipated English convict William Thornhill stakes a claim on 100 acres of land on the remote Hawkesbury River in New South Wales, only to find that a clan of Aboriginal people also lay claim to the land, as they have done since time immemorial.' (Production summary)

Notes

  • The Secret River is briefly discussed by John Hirst in Sense & Nonsense in Australian History (2005) pp.84-86 as part of the chapter 'How Sorry Can We Be?'.
  • Featured by the BIG Book Club, an initiative supported by The Advertiser in partnership with Arts SA, The Australia Council for the Arts, Channel 7, FIVEAA and the state's public libraries to promote a love of reading, discussion and literature, July 2006.
  • Dedication: This novel is dedicated to the Aboriginal people of Australia: past, present and future.
  • Prequel to Sarah Thornhill.
  • Other formats: Also sound recording.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2005 .
      9004895568629356307.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 334p.
      ISBN: 1920885757, 9781922147424
    • Edinburgh,
      c
      Scotland,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Canongate , 2006 .
      Extent: 334p.
      ISBN: 9781841956824 (pbk.), 1841956821 (pbk.)
    • Toronto, Ontario,
      c
      Canada,
      c
      Americas,
      :
      HarperCollins , 2006 .
      Extent: 334p.
      Edition info: 1st Canadian ed.
      ISBN: 0002005980
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2015 .
      939162831828705494.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Edition info: Television tie-in edition
      Note/s:
      • Published 27 May 2015.
      ISBN: 781925240061, 9781925240061
Alternative title: De verborgen rivier
Language: Dutch
    • Amsterdam,
      c
      Netherlands,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Anthos (Netherlands) , 2006 .
      3671650654082234736.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 342p.
      ISBN: 9041410155 9789041410153
    • Amsterdam,
      c
      Netherlands,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Anthos (Netherlands) , 2007 .
      7869787444096225771.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 342p.
      Edition info: 3rd Dutch ed.
      ISBN: 9789041412034

Works about this Work

Ethnic Diversity on Australian TV : Are We Finally Ready for Colour on Our Screens? Karl Quinn , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: Brisbane Times , 14 May 2016;
'If you were judging the state of Australian television by last Sunday's Logies, you might reasonably conclude that when it comes to on screen diversity – of the ethnic variety, at least – we're not doing too badly. ...'
Indigenous Writer Bruce Pascoe : 'We Need Novels That Are True to the Land' Monica Tan , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 18 February 2016;
'The writer of mixed Indigenous heritage says rather than books about white or black people, Australia needs great novelists writing truthfully about the land.'
Other Peoples’ Stories Jeanine Leane , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: Overland , Summer no. 225 2016; (p. 41)
'In the late 1960s, when I was about eight, I announced to my aunt that I wanted to be white. If I were white, I explained, I would see myself everywhere – on television, on posters, in magazines, in books.' (Introduction)
‘Labour against Wilderness’ and the Trouble with Property beyond The Secret River Jennifer Hamilton , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Green Letters : Studies in Ecocriticism , vol. 20 no. 2 2016; (p. 140-155)
'The trouble with wilderness is well known in ecocriticism, less so are the troubles with property. To open an ecocritical path into the property question, this essay reads Kate Grenville’s 2005 novel The Secret River as an allegory about property ownership in contemporary Australia. Grenville describes the protagonist’s claim to property as ‘labour against wilderness’, which invites an investigation into the conceptual correlation between land that is supposedly untouched and that which is ‘owned’. Intersecting with extant postcolonial analyses of the novel, this essay takes up its representation of the labour and violence involved in white settler claims to land in order to develop an anti-colonial and ecological critique of property. In turn, I argue that labour practices oriented towards the acquisition of property actively work against the projects of decolonisation, on the one hand, and multispecies futures, on the other. The closing section of this essay offers some paths out of the wilderness/property double bind by speculating on methods for directing human action towards alternative futures.' (Publication abstract)
Telling Stories of Colonial Encounters: Kate Grenville’s The Secret River, The Lieutenant and Sarah Thornhill Annalisa Pes , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Postcolonial Text , vol. 11 no. 2 2016;
'The essay examines the fundamental role of storytelling in the different colonial encounters portrayed by Kate Grenville in her historical-based trilogy: The Secret River (2005), The Lieutenant (2008) and Sarah Thornhill (2011). Starting from Grenville’s assertion that the clash between settlers and Aborigines originated mainly from the “tragic inability to communicate across a gulf of culture,” the essay observes how in the three novels communication and, conversely, incommunicability and miscommunication, both between Europeans (or, later, white Australians) and Indigenous Australians and among Europeans themselves, play a fundamental role in establishing, or failing to establish, relationships and in creating, or in trying to solve, conflicts. The importance of storytelling is investigated in its function of (re)definition of identity and as a necessary step in the process of reconciliation.'
A Challenging Look at the Familiar Territory of Old Australia Stella Clarke , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 25-26 June 2005; (p. 8-9)

— Review of The Secret River Kate Grenville 2005 single work novel
River Reveals Secrets of a Country's Past Diane Stubbings , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 2 July 2005; (p. 12)

— Review of The Secret River Kate Grenville 2005 single work novel
On a River of Dreams Katharine England , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 2 July 2005; (p. 10)

— Review of The Secret River Kate Grenville 2005 single work novel
Original Sins of the Founding Fathers A. P. Riemer , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 2-3 July 2005; (p. 20)

— Review of The Secret River Kate Grenville 2005 single work novel
River of Enchantment Rosemary Sorensen , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 2 - 3 July 2005; (p. 8)

— Review of The Secret River Kate Grenville 2005 single work novel
New Frontier Makes Fantastic Fiction Jason Steger , 2005 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 14 May 2005; (p. 6)
Skeletons Out of the Closet Jane Sullivan , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Age , 2 July 2005; (p. 1-2)
Kate Grenville's forthcoming novel The Secret River will encourage a fresh debate about frontier violence between local Aboriginal people and European settlers.
Live Their Life Kate Grenville , 2005 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 2 - 3 July 2005; (p. 8)
A Woman with a Past Susan Wyndham , 2005 single work biography
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 9-10 July 2005; (p. 20-21)
A Writer's Life : Ideas and Perfection Sally Blakeney , 2005 single work biography
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 12 July vol. 123 no. 6478 2005; (p. 86-88)
Last amended 8 Mar 2016 08:49:31
Settings:
  • London,
    c
    England,
    c
    c
    United Kingdom (UK),
    c
    Western Europe, Europe,
  • Hawkesbury area, Northwest Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales,
  • ca. 1800-1820
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