'Enjoyed by generations of young Australians since its publication in 1910, A Little Bush Maid is the ultimate, idyllic tale of an adventurous girl growing up in the Australian bush.
'Billabong, a large cattle and sheep property in the Australian countryside, is home to twelve-year-old Norah Linton, her widowed father and her older brother, Jim. Norah's prim and proper aunts, who live in the city, consider she is in danger of "growing up wild" - riding all over Billabong on her beloved pony, Bobs, helping with mustering, and joining in all the holiday fun when Jim and his friends come home from boarding school. A fishing trip results in unexpected drama when they discover a mysterious stranger camped in the bush. Who is this stranger and why is he there? Norah's resourcefulness is tested to the full!' (Publication summary : 2015 edition)
'Through a comparison of Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand texts published between 1840 and 1940, From Colonial to Modern develops a new history of colonial girlhoods revealing how girlhood in each of these emerging nations reflects a unique political, social, and cultural context.
'Print culture was central to the definition, and redefinition, of colonial girlhood during this period of rapid change. Models of girlhood are shared between settler colonies and contain many similar attitudes towards family, the natural world, education, employment, modernity, and race, yet, as the authors argue, these texts also reveal different attitudes that emerged out of distinct colonial experiences. Unlike the imperial model representing the British ideal, the transnational girl is an adaptation of British imperial femininity and holds, for example, a unique perception of Indigenous culture and imperialism. Drawing on fiction, girls’ magazines, and school magazine, the authors shine a light on neglected corners of the literary histories of these three nations and strengthen our knowledge of femininity in white settler colonies.' (Publication summary)
'This article focuses on the representation of girlhood, gender and mateship particular to Australia, and to a lesser extent New Zealand, within the context of an emerging nationalism, social change and political upheaval. In it, I apply an illustrator’s perspective to interrogating the cultural significance of Mary Grant Bruce’s iconic outback heroine, Norah of Billabong Station. By comparatively examining Norah’s sequential representation in the narrative text, and the illustrations produced by John MacFarlane, I argue Bruce and her little-known, and rarely discussed immigrant illustrator combined to create an ideal and national type that was counter to anything that had been created for colonial girl readers before.' (Author's abstract)