Mary Sewell was the mother of Black Beauty author Anna Sewell. In this fictionalisation, the children are called Johnnie, Frankie, and Jeanie.
Fictional re-telling in which the children are named Tom, Jane, and Willie. In this version, the author struggles hard to make a white adult male the hero of the story.
Fictional re-telling by Robert Richardson. In this version, the children are called Katie, George, and Willie. Katie is the eldest child, and the hero of the story.
Artist William Strutt was so inspired by the Duffs' story that he re-told their story in a fictionalised account that he also illustrated. The work, Cooey, or The Trackers of Glenferry, was finally finished in 1901. Although he sold the work to a magazine five years later, it was never published. The National Library of Australia acquired Strutt's manuscript and sketches in 1967. Many years later, in 1989, the NLA published the work for the first time. In this version, the children are named Roderick, Bella, and David.
This work's author is listed only as 'the author of "Little Jessie."' Although it proclaims on the title page that it is 'A True Story,' the children's names in this version are Edwin, Frankie, and Jeanie. Edwin begs his mother that Jeanie be allowed to come along with him and Frankie to collect broom, because he wants her to see the 'lovely wild buds' in the paddock. Jeanie is so thrilled to come along that she finds a spiritual thrill in the sights.
Author's note: 'These incidents have been gathered from the Melbourne Argus of the latter end of 1864, from which we also learn that the three children lived with their parents in the district of the Mallee Scrub. The manner in which they were lost is preserved in the text; and the scarcely credible statement that for "nine long days and eight long weary nights," these children, of from five to nine years, wandered the dreary heath without a morsel of bread to allay their hunger, or a drop of water (save once) to quench their thirst, forms to our mind one of the most amazing acts of Divine preservation which we ever had brought under our observation.'
Babes in the Bush: The Making of an Australian Image (2005)
Examines the figure of the lost child from a historian's perspective. Also provides a broader cultural context by examining cases from other countries. This may be of particular interest because some of the Duff re-tellings seem directed at English, rather than colonial, readers.
The Country of Lost Children: An Australian Anxiety (1999)
Peter Pierce's critical work examines the figure of the lost child in 19th and 20th century Australian history and culture.
Three Lost Children: Revisiting a Heroic Legend (2010)
Examines the lost in the bush motif in Australian culture. Examines the Duff mythology as well as Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Click on the links below to find more works about lost children.
Subject search for: 'Lost in the bush'
Keyword search for: 'Duff children'
Keyword search for Jane Duff
CLDR works containing the phrase "lost children"