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Alternative title: Sirius Quality Paperbacks
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Notes

  • The Angus and Robertson series Sirius Books was launched in April 1963. The series aimed to 'bring back into print memorable works by Australian authors - books that have proved their merit and remained in constant demand' and was issued in both paperback format and cloth bindings.

Includes

y separately published work icon Such Is Life : Being Certain Extracts from the Diary of Tom Collins Tom Collins , 1897 8613167 1897 single work novel (taught in 2 units)

Such is Life: Being Certain Extracts from the Diary of Tom Collins. Joseph Furphy's title gives an indication of the complexity of the narrative that will unravel before a persistent reader. In chapter one, the narrator, Tom Collins, joins a group of bullockies to camp for the night a few miles from Runnymede Station. Their conversations reveal many of the issues that arise throughout the rest of the novel: the ownership of, or control of access to, pasture; ideas of providence, fate and superstition; and a concern for federation that flows into descriptions of the coming Australian in later chapters. Each of the characters provides a portrait of bush types that Furphy uses to measure the qualities of squatters and others against popular ideas of the 'gentleman'. Furphy's choice of a narrative structure to create a 'loosely federated' series of yarns is itself a critique of popular narratives populated by stock characters who are driven by action that leads to predictable and uncomplicated conclusions. Tom Collins, the unreliable narrator, adds further complications by claiming to 'read men like signboards' while all the time being unknowingly contradicted by circumstances that become obvious to the reader.

In each subsequent chapter Tom Collins leads the reader through a series of experiences chosen from his diaries. In chapter two, Collins meets the boundary rider Rory O'Halloran and his daughter, Mary, a symbol of the coming Australian whose devotion to her father will have tragic consequences in chapter five. There are many links between chapters like this one that remain invisible to Collins, despite his attempts to understand the 'controlling alternatives' that affect our lives. In chapter three Tom loses his clothes crossing the Murray River and spends the night wandering naked until he is able to steal a pair of pants after diverting attention by setting fire to a haystack. In chapter four Collins helps an ailing Warrigal Alf by deceiving several boundary riders who have impounded Alf's bullocks. In chapter five, among other yarns of lost children, Thompson completes the tragic tale of Mary O'Halloran, connecting with the events of chapter two. Chapters six and seven take Tom Collins back to Runnymede Station where he attempts to avoid an unwelcome union with Maud Beaudesart. He also meets the disfigured boundary rider, Nosey Alf, whose life story Furphy has threaded throughout the narrative, signs not perceived by Tom Collins. When Collins returns to Runnymede at the end of the novel, Furphy ties up more loose narrative threads, but Tom Collins, the narrator, remains oblivious to the end.

In short, Such Is Life 'reflects the preoccupations of [the 1890s]: contemporary capitalism, ardent Australian nationalism, the difficulties of pioneering pastoralism, and speculation about a future Australian civilization. It was instantly seen as a major example of the "radical nationalism" of the time and praised for its realistic representation of life on the frontier in the 1880s. But it was forty years before many readers realized that the novel was also a subtle comment on fiction itself and that within it were hidden stories that revealed a world of "romance" within its "realist" representation of life. Such Is Life can be read as the first experimental novel in Australian literature and the first Australian literary expression of a twentieth-century sensibility of the provisionality of life and reality.' (Julian Croft, 'Joseph Furphy.' in Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 230.)

Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1962
y separately published work icon Capricornia : A Novel Xavier Herbert , Sydney : Publicist Publishing Company , 1938 Z352152 1938 single work novel (taught in 7 units)

Arriving in Capricornia (a fictional name for the Northern Territory) in 1904 with his brother Oscar, Mark Shillingworth soon becomes part of the flotsam and jetsam of Port Zodiac (Darwin) society. Dismissed from the public service for drunkenness, Mark forms a brief relationship with an Aboriginal woman and fathers a son, whom he deserts and who acquires the name of Naw-Nim (no-name). After killing a Chinese shopkeeper, Norman disappears from view until the second half of the novel.

Oscar, the respectable contrast to Mark, marries and tries to establish himself on a Capricornian cattle station, Red Ochre, but is deserted by his wife and eventually returns for a time to Batman (Melbourne), accompanied by his daughter Marigold and foster son Norman, who has been sent to him after Mark's desertion.

Oscar rejects the plea of a former employee, Peter Differ, to see to the welfare of his daughter Constance; Constance Differ is placed under the 'protection' of Humboldt Lace, a Protector of Aborigines, who seduces her and then marries her off to another man of Aboriginal descent. Forced into prostitution, Constance is dying of consumption when discovered by a railway fitter, Tim O'Cannon, who will take care of Constance's daughter, Tocky, until his own death in a train accident.
Hearing news in 1928 of an economic boom in Capricornia, Oscar returns to his station, where he is joined by Marigold and Norman, who has grown to manhood believing himself to be the son of a Javanese princess and a solider killed in the First World War. Soon after, he discovers his mother was an Aboriginal woman, and meets his father, with whom he will not reconcile until later in the novel. Norman then goes on a series of journeys to discover his true, Aboriginal self. On the second of these journeys, he meets and wanders in the wilderness with Tocky, who has escaped from the mission station to which she was sent after the death of O'Cannon. During this passage, she kills a man in self-defense, which leads to Norman's being accused of murder, at the same time his father is prosecuted for the death of the Chinese shopkeeper. At the end of the novel they are both acquitted, Heather and Mark are married, and Norman returns to Red Ochre, where he finds the body of Tocky and their child in a water tank in which she had taken refuge from the authorities. (Source: Oxford Companion to Australian Literature)

Capricornia
Sydney : Sirius Books , 1963
y separately published work icon Old Days : Old Ways : A Book of Recollections Mary Gilmore , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1934 Z369143 1934 single work autobiography Sydney : Sirius Books , 1963
y separately published work icon The Letters of Rachel Henning Rachel Biddulph Henning , 1952 selected work correspondence biography Sydney : Sirius Books , 1963
y separately published work icon Poems Kenneth Slessor , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1957 Z531943 1957 selected work poetry (taught in 5 units) Sydney : Sirius Books , 1963
y separately published work icon Flying Fox and Drifting Sand : The Adventures of a Biologist in Australia Francis N. Ratcliffe , London : Chatto and Windus , 1937 Z1055019 1937 single work autobiography travel Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1963
y separately published work icon The Young Desire It : A Novel Seaforth MacKenzie , London : Jonathan Cape , 1937 Z182314 1937 single work novel (taught in 1 units)

'In the late afternoon of a day in February, that hottest of Australian summer months, when a brutal sun stood bronze above the river flats which you may see from the dormitory windows of Chatterton, Charles came to the school with his mother, walking from the railway station to the gates by a private path across a burnt, untidy field, overhung with Cape lilacs that still drooped, dusty and melancholy…In the lower part of his belly fear kicked and pulsed like a child in the womb, ready to be born.

'Fifteen-year-old Charles Fox is sent away to boarding school, innocent, alone and afraid. There one of his masters develops an intense attachment to him. But when Charles meets Margaret, a girl staying at a nearby farm for the holidays, he is besotted, and a passionate, unforgettable romance begins. ' (Publication summary : Text Classics)

Sydney : Sirius Books , 1963
y separately published work icon Coonardoo : The Well in the Shadow Katharine Susannah Prichard , 1928 Z1081769 1928 single work novel (taught in 39 units) Set in North-West of Western Australia, it describes life on cattle stations and the relationship between the white owner of the station and Coonardoo, an Aboriginal woman. Sydney : Sirius Books , 1964
y separately published work icon 72 Essays : a selection Walter Murdoch , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1947 Z844754 1947 selected work essay Sydney : Sirius Books , 1964
y separately published work icon The Poems of Shaw Neilson John Shaw Neilson , A. R. Chisholm (editor), Sydney : Sirius Books , 1965 Z265215 1965 selected work poetry Sydney : Sirius Books , 1965
y separately published work icon The End of a Childhood and Other Stories Henry Handel Richardson , London : Heinemann , 1934 Z398299 1934 selected work short story Sydney : Sirius Books , 1979
y separately published work icon Haxby's Circus : The Lightest, Brightest Little Show on Earth Katharine Susannah Prichard , London : Jonathan Cape , 1930 Z547210 1930 single work novel
— Appears in: Tsirk Kheksbi ; Negasimoe Plamia 1985;
A world of wandering mushroom tents, spawning on bare paddocks beside some small town and then off again ... places that smelt of milk and wheat, where the farmer people gave you milk and apples, or melons; you got fresh water to drink and a bath sometimes. A dirty, strenuous world. Cruel, courageous, a hard, hungry world for all the glitter and flare of its laughter; but a good world, her world.' Welcome to Haxby's Circus - the lightest, brightest little show on earth. From Bendigo to Narrabri, travelling the long and dusty roads between harvest fields, the Haxby family and their troupe - acrobats, contortionists, wirewalkers, clowns and wild beasts - perform under the glaring lights of the big top. But away from the spotlight and superficial glamour of the circus the real, and sometimes tragic, lives of the performers are exposed: their hopes and dreams, successes and failures, the drudgery of life on the road. Proprietor Dan Haxby lives by the maxim 'the show must go on', even when his daughter Gina, the bareback rider, has a dreadful accident. Gina may never ride again, but, with some advice from circus dwarf Rocca, who shows her how to transform her liability into art, she flourishes and discovers a courageous spirit within. 'Katharine Susannah Prichard takes the raw material of our lives and transmutes it into the gold of literature' - Mary Durack

(Source: Harper Collins)

Sydney : Sirius Books , 1979
y separately published work icon The Man on the Headland Kylie Tennant , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1971 Z247535 1971 single work biography Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1979
y separately published work icon The Skedule and Other Australian Short Stories H. H. Wilson , London Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1979 Z73445 1979 selected work short story London Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1979
y separately published work icon The Chantic Bird David Ireland , New York (City) : Charles Scribner's Sons , 1968 Z405335 1968 single work novel

'I’m only telling you this to let you know what a silly thing it is to live like I do. What it was, I got sacked from my seventeenth job for fighting or gambling—I don’t know which—and because I was hardly ever there. I was gambling all right, but someone called me a cheat and swung at me, I moved my head and swung back and this kid went in to one of the bosses with blood coming out of his mouth saying I was a standover man.

'The Chantic Bird is the confession of a teenage anarchist, who combines a contempt for contemporary society with a great tenderness and warmth for his younger siblings and for Bee, the girl who looks after them.

'The first of David Ireland’s masterful novels, The Chantic Bird contains the same characteristic indictment of the bovine mindlessness of collective humanity, and the home-owning wage slaves.

‘It has been my aim to take apart, then build up piece by piece, this mosaic of one kind of human life…to remind my present age of its industrial adolescence.’ David Ireland

'This edition of The Chantic Bird comes with a new introduction by Geordie Williamson.' (Text Classic summary)

Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1979
y separately published work icon Wild Cat Falling Colin Johnson , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1965 Z203627 1965 single work novel (taught in 13 units)

'Wild Cat Falling is the story of an Aboriginal youth, a 'bodgie' of the early sixties who grows up on the ragged outskirts of a country town, falls into petty crime, goes to gaol, and comes out to do battle once more with the society who put him there. Its publication in 1965 marked a unique literary event, for this was the first novel by any writer of Aboriginal blood to be published in Australia. As well, it is a remarkable piece of literature in its own right, expressing the dilemmas and conflicts of the young Aboriginal in modern Australian society with its memorable insight and stylishness.' (Publication summary)

North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1979
y separately published work icon Working Bullocks Katharine Susannah Prichard , London : Jonathan Cape , 1926 Z547635 1926 single work novel Sydney : Sirius Books , 1980
y separately published work icon Foveaux Kylie Tennant , London : Gollancz , 1939 Z250323 1939 single work novel Sydney : Sirius Books , 1981
y separately published work icon Exiles at Home : Australian Women Writers 1925-1945 Drusilla Modjeska , Sydney : Sirius Books , 1981 Z975826 1981 single work criticism biography

'At the end of the 1920s Christina Stead had left Australia and was poised to write Seven Poor Men of Sydney. In London Miles Franklin was producing her first Brent of Bin Bin book and would soon return to Australia. Katharine Susannah Prichard was enlarging her view of black and white in outback Australia, and the team writing under the name M. Barnard Eldershaw had published its first novel and won the Bulletin prize. Gathering these writers into a network by her support and criticism was the influential Nettie Palmer. In the mid-1930s these women and other writers such as Eleanor Dark, Jean Devanny, Dymphna Cusack and Betty Roland faced the impact of fascism and another war. The platform and the writing desk had different and often conflicting appeals; and the Depression underlined the already precarious existence of the woman writer. This immensely readable work by one of Australia's most respected writers of today is a fascinating insight into the lives of these significant literary figures, and into the creative process itself.' (Publication summary)

Sydney : Sirius Books , 1981
y separately published work icon A Christina Stead Reader Christina Stead , Jean B. Read (editor), New York (City) Toronto : Random House , 1978 Z449695 1978 selected work novel extract Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1981
y separately published work icon Tiburon Kylie Tennant , 1935-1936 Z1276004 1935 single work novel North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1981
y separately published work icon Tell Morning This Kylie Tennant , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1967 Z251317 1967 single work novel Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1981
y separately published work icon All That False Instruction : A Novel of Lesbian Love Elizabeth Riley , London Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1975 Z901131 1975 single work novel Sydney : Sirius Books , 1981
y separately published work icon Out of the Silence : A Romance Erle Cox , 1919 single work novel science fiction romance
— Appears in: Lost Worlds Australia : Early Australian Science Fiction 2019;

'When two amateur archaeologists in Australia uncover a hidden high-tech tomb they inadvertently awaken a millennia-old superhuman. Does the beautiful Earani mean to save humanity or destroy it?

'A country farmer uncovers remnants of an advanced civilization that contain a woman, asleep in suspended animation for two thousand years. Upon awakening the woman Earani teleports herself into the office of the Australian Prime Minister and reveals her plans to take over the world – through mind control.

'An advanced civilization from the impossibly distant past is about to be resurrected in rural Australia. What dark secrets does it hold? Is it possible for a man to deny the requests of the world's most beautiful and intelligent woman? To fight a relentless and appealing logic no matter how horrific the consequences?

'It's rare that a novel captures a country's soul. How is it possible that a novel written almost a hundred years ago can speak to us so deeply of things that disturb and torment Australians even today? Out of the Silence is the most perplexing of novels, where during the course of the story your expectations and assumptions are turned 180 degrees.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

London Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1981
y separately published work icon Return to Coolami Eleanor Dark , London : Collins , 1936 Z824242 1936 single work novel (taught in 2 units) London Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1981
y separately published work icon The Unknown Industrial Prisoner David Ireland , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1971 Z125478 1971 single work novel

'What was Puroil? At Clearwater it was a sprawling refinery, an army of white shirts, a fleet of wagons, a number of apparently separate companies, dozens of monolithic departments protected from each other by an armour of functional difference and jealousy. On the refinery site it was two hundred and fifty shabby prisoners, a heavy overload of foremen, supervisors, plant controllers, shift controllers, up to the giddy height of section heads (popularly miscalled Suction Heads, a metaphor deriving from pumps) who were clerks for the technologists; project and process engineers and superintendents who were whipping-boys for the—whisper it!—the Old Man himself, the Manager, who was actually only a Branch Manager and a sort of bum-boy for Head Office in Victoria, which was a backward colonial outpost in the eyes of the London office, which was a junior partner in British-European Puroil its mighty self, which was the property of anonymous shareholders.

'On the shores of Botany Bay lies an oil refinery where workers are free to come and go—but they are also part of an unrelenting, alienating economy from which there is no escape. In the first of his three Miles Franklin Award-winning novels, originally published in 1971, David Ireland offers a fiercely brilliant comic portrait of Australia in the grip of a dehumanising labour system.' (Publication summary : Text Classics)

North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1982
y separately published work icon Across the Sea Wall Christopher Koch , London Melbourne : Heinemann , 1965 Z822374 1965 single work novel

'During the early 1950s, many young Australians made the traditional pilgrimage to Europe by ship. Meanwhile, a wave og post-war European migrants was coming the other way: 'Displaced Persons'; refugees from the havoc of the Second World War.

'Ilsa Kalnins, the Latvian showgirl, is one such refugee. Robert O'Brien is a sheltered young Australian, running away from the tedium and security of a country that is still almost wholly insular and Anglo-Saxon. Ilsa, disturbed and disturbing, exerts a fascination over Robert that changes the voyage and his life. He is never to reach Europe: instead they travel through India together. Ahead is catastrophe, as each seeks in the other answers that cannot be found.' (Publication summary)

Sydney : Sirius Books , 1982
y separately published work icon Burn David Ireland , Cremorne : Angus and Robertson , 1974 Z125279 1974 single work novel Sydney : Sirius Books , 1983
y separately published work icon The Battlers Kylie Tennant , London : Gollancz , 1941 Z250421 1941 single work novel (taught in 1 units)

'The flowers flared up from the ground unconquerable. The unrepentant gaiety of the weed, the burning blues and crimsons, set the hills glowing.

''It's a plant that's struck it lucky,' the Stray said thoughtfully. 'It hasn't got no right, but it's there.'

'The Battlers is the story of Snow, a drifter and wanderer, the waiflike Dancy the Stray, from the slums of Sydney, and the other outcasts who accompany them as they travel the country roads looking for work. Like the weed Patterson's Curse, they 'haven't got no right', but they are there. Based on her own experiences of life on the roads in the 1930s, Tennant tells the story of the motley crowd of travellers with compassion and humour. First published in 1941, The Battlers was awarded the Gold Medal of the Australian Literature Society and shared the S. H. Prior Memorial Prize. More than seventy years later, the book's message of survival against the odds is as relevant today as it was then. ' (Publication summary)

London Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1983
y separately published work icon The Honey Flow Kylie Tennant , London : Macmillan , 1956 Z251915 1956 single work novel Sydney : Sirius Books , 1983
y separately published work icon Out of Eden : Henry Lawson's Life and Works : A Psychoanalytic View Xavier Pons , North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1984 Z392399 1984 single work criticism Focuses on the basic traits of Lawson's personality and the ways in which they influenced his writing. Examines biographical aspects such as the parent-child relationship, guilt and expiation and other psychological problems he faced which may account for the unevenness of Lawson's literary production and the weakness of his verse and later prose. North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1984
y separately published work icon Exiles at Home : Australian Women Writers 1925-1945 Drusilla Modjeska , Sydney : Sirius Books , 1981 Z975826 1981 single work criticism biography

'At the end of the 1920s Christina Stead had left Australia and was poised to write Seven Poor Men of Sydney. In London Miles Franklin was producing her first Brent of Bin Bin book and would soon return to Australia. Katharine Susannah Prichard was enlarging her view of black and white in outback Australia, and the team writing under the name M. Barnard Eldershaw had published its first novel and won the Bulletin prize. Gathering these writers into a network by her support and criticism was the influential Nettie Palmer. In the mid-1930s these women and other writers such as Eleanor Dark, Jean Devanny, Dymphna Cusack and Betty Roland faced the impact of fascism and another war. The platform and the writing desk had different and often conflicting appeals; and the Depression underlined the already precarious existence of the woman writer. This immensely readable work by one of Australia's most respected writers of today is a fascinating insight into the lives of these significant literary figures, and into the creative process itself.' (Publication summary)

Sydney : Sirius Books , 1984
y separately published work icon The River Eric Rolls , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1974 Z398566 1974 single work autobiography North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1984
y separately published work icon Persistence in Folly Les Murray , Sydney : Sirius Books , 1984 Z428053 1984 selected work review prose essay autobiography Collection of previously published articles and reviews written between 1977 and 1982 which Murray himself wishes to preserve. In his preface Murray states : "With very few exceptions, the articles are presented in the order in which I wrote them. Emendations have included the restoration of my original titles for some of the pieces, and also the restoration, sometimes from rough memory, of bits cut out by editors." Sydney : Sirius Books , 1984
y separately published work icon Letty Fox, Her Luck Christina Stead , New York (City) : Harcourt Brace , 1946 Z462885 1946 single work novel "One hot night last spring, after waiting fruitlessly for a call from my then lover, with whom I had quarrelled the same afternoon, and finding one of my black moods upon me, I flung out of my lonely room on the ninth floor (unlucky number) in a hotel in lower Fifth Avenue and rushed into the streets of the Village, feeling bad." "So begins Letty Fox's own story, a comic extravaganza about the crazy circus of her early life; about her moping mother, absent father, and two impossible sisters; about work and play, sex and men, and the seemingly unending search for a lasting relationship." (Publisher's blurb)
Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1984
y separately published work icon Stories of the Riverina E. O. Schlunke , Clement Semmler , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1965 Z79769 1965 selected work short story North Ryde : Angus and Robertson , 1984
y separately published work icon The Treatment ; and, The Cure Peter Kocan , Sydney : Sirius Books , 1984 Z499356 1984 selected work novel Sydney : Sirius Books , 1984
y separately published work icon Doherty's Corner : The Life and Work of Poet Marie E.J. Pitt Colleen Burke , Marie E. J. Pitt , North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1985 Z362805 1985 selected work biography poetry Comprises a biography of Pitt and a selection of her poetry. North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1985
y separately published work icon The Sugar Factory Robert Carter , North Ryde : Angus and Robertson , 1986 Z149785 1986 single work novel young adult North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1987
y separately published work icon The Pleasure Within : Short Stories Robert Carter , North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1987 Z149684 1987 selected work short story North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1987
y separately published work icon There Was a Crooked Man : The Poems of Lex Banning Lex Banning , Richard Appleton (editor), Alex Galloway (editor), North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1987 Z357621 1987 collected work poetry North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1987
y separately published work icon Wattle and Dope Rolf Heimann , North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1988 Z386927 1988 single work novel satire North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1988
y separately published work icon The Catherine Wheel Elizabeth Harrower , London : Cassell , 1960 Z453806 1960 single work novel (taught in 1 units)

'The wind from Siberia as announced by the BBC came down Bayswater Road from the direction of Marble Arch…Searing skin, and petrifying metal and wood, it took possession of London and this early day of the new year. Gently, somehow sympathetically, with a secret sort of throb, my ears ached against it, but rather more drearily and with a sense of injustice my eyes watered as I narrowed them at the steely dark sky and swirling smoke. The centre of the universe! The brilliance of the winter season!

'Twenty-five-year-old Clemency James has moved from Sydney to a chilly bedsit on the other side of the world. During the day she studies for the bar by correspondence; in the evenings she gives French lessons to earn a meagre wage. When she meets Christian, a charismatic would-be actor, she can see he’s trouble—not least because he’s involved with an older woman who has children. She is drawn to him nonetheless: drawn into his world of unpayable debts and wild promises.

'First published in 1960, The Catherine Wheel is Elizabeth Harrower’s third novel and the only one of her books not set in Australia. In it she turns her unflinching gaze on the grim realities of 1950s London, and the madness that can infect couples.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Text ed.).

North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1988
y separately published work icon Tamarisk Row Gerald Murnane , Melbourne : Heinemann , 1974 Z322076 1974 single work novel (taught in 1 units) North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1988
y separately published work icon The Electrical Experience : A Discontinuous Narrative Frank Moorhouse , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1974 Z397167 1974 selected work short story satire (taught in 5 units) Sydney : Sirius Books , 1988
y separately published work icon Tales of Mystery and Romance Frank Moorhouse , London Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1977 Z395541 1977 selected work short story Sydney : Sirius Books , 1988
y separately published work icon The Battlers Kylie Tennant , London : Gollancz , 1941 Z250421 1941 single work novel (taught in 1 units)

'The flowers flared up from the ground unconquerable. The unrepentant gaiety of the weed, the burning blues and crimsons, set the hills glowing.

''It's a plant that's struck it lucky,' the Stray said thoughtfully. 'It hasn't got no right, but it's there.'

'The Battlers is the story of Snow, a drifter and wanderer, the waiflike Dancy the Stray, from the slums of Sydney, and the other outcasts who accompany them as they travel the country roads looking for work. Like the weed Patterson's Curse, they 'haven't got no right', but they are there. Based on her own experiences of life on the roads in the 1930s, Tennant tells the story of the motley crowd of travellers with compassion and humour. First published in 1941, The Battlers was awarded the Gold Medal of the Australian Literature Society and shared the S. H. Prior Memorial Prize. More than seventy years later, the book's message of survival against the odds is as relevant today as it was then. ' (Publication summary)

North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1988
y separately published work icon The Revolt of the Coats Grant Caldwell , North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1988 Z345828 1988 selected work short story humour satire science fiction North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1988
y separately published work icon The Everlasting Secret Family and Other Secrets Frank Moorhouse , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1980 Z393546 1980 selected work short story North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1988
y separately published work icon Futility and Other Animals Frank Moorhouse , Sydney : Gareth Powell Associates , 1969 Z865230 1969 selected work short story North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1988
y separately published work icon Ride on Stranger Kylie Tennant , London : Gollancz , 1943 Z250915 1943 single work novel North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1988
y separately published work icon Haxby's Circus : The Lightest, Brightest Little Show on Earth Katharine Susannah Prichard , London : Jonathan Cape , 1930 Z547210 1930 single work novel
— Appears in: Tsirk Kheksbi ; Negasimoe Plamia 1985;
A world of wandering mushroom tents, spawning on bare paddocks beside some small town and then off again ... places that smelt of milk and wheat, where the farmer people gave you milk and apples, or melons; you got fresh water to drink and a bath sometimes. A dirty, strenuous world. Cruel, courageous, a hard, hungry world for all the glitter and flare of its laughter; but a good world, her world.' Welcome to Haxby's Circus - the lightest, brightest little show on earth. From Bendigo to Narrabri, travelling the long and dusty roads between harvest fields, the Haxby family and their troupe - acrobats, contortionists, wirewalkers, clowns and wild beasts - perform under the glaring lights of the big top. But away from the spotlight and superficial glamour of the circus the real, and sometimes tragic, lives of the performers are exposed: their hopes and dreams, successes and failures, the drudgery of life on the road. Proprietor Dan Haxby lives by the maxim 'the show must go on', even when his daughter Gina, the bareback rider, has a dreadful accident. Gina may never ride again, but, with some advice from circus dwarf Rocca, who shows her how to transform her liability into art, she flourishes and discovers a courageous spirit within. 'Katharine Susannah Prichard takes the raw material of our lives and transmutes it into the gold of literature' - Mary Durack

(Source: Harper Collins)

North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1988
y separately published work icon Distant Land Judah Waten , Melbourne : Cheshire , 1964 Z52668 1964 single work novel

This novel of present day migrant life centres on Joshua Kuperschmidt who arrives with his wife Shoshanah, from Poland, in 1925. He has given up his family and his traditional European ties to escape war and persecution, in the hope of a better life.

It is the moving story of a Jewish couple who have adapted themselves to a strange new environment in a distant land - a country where even the small Jewish community differs markedly from that they have known. Material success is the reward for Shoshanah's unrelenting ambition; but Joshua is never sure whether his own ambitions in this new society are ever fulfilled. (Publisher's blurb).

Sydney : Sirius Books , 1989
y separately published work icon Foveaux Kylie Tennant , London : Gollancz , 1939 Z250323 1939 single work novel North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1989
y separately published work icon Capricornia : A Novel Xavier Herbert , Sydney : Publicist Publishing Company , 1938 Z352152 1938 single work novel (taught in 7 units)

Arriving in Capricornia (a fictional name for the Northern Territory) in 1904 with his brother Oscar, Mark Shillingworth soon becomes part of the flotsam and jetsam of Port Zodiac (Darwin) society. Dismissed from the public service for drunkenness, Mark forms a brief relationship with an Aboriginal woman and fathers a son, whom he deserts and who acquires the name of Naw-Nim (no-name). After killing a Chinese shopkeeper, Norman disappears from view until the second half of the novel.

Oscar, the respectable contrast to Mark, marries and tries to establish himself on a Capricornian cattle station, Red Ochre, but is deserted by his wife and eventually returns for a time to Batman (Melbourne), accompanied by his daughter Marigold and foster son Norman, who has been sent to him after Mark's desertion.

Oscar rejects the plea of a former employee, Peter Differ, to see to the welfare of his daughter Constance; Constance Differ is placed under the 'protection' of Humboldt Lace, a Protector of Aborigines, who seduces her and then marries her off to another man of Aboriginal descent. Forced into prostitution, Constance is dying of consumption when discovered by a railway fitter, Tim O'Cannon, who will take care of Constance's daughter, Tocky, until his own death in a train accident.
Hearing news in 1928 of an economic boom in Capricornia, Oscar returns to his station, where he is joined by Marigold and Norman, who has grown to manhood believing himself to be the son of a Javanese princess and a solider killed in the First World War. Soon after, he discovers his mother was an Aboriginal woman, and meets his father, with whom he will not reconcile until later in the novel. Norman then goes on a series of journeys to discover his true, Aboriginal self. On the second of these journeys, he meets and wanders in the wilderness with Tocky, who has escaped from the mission station to which she was sent after the death of O'Cannon. During this passage, she kills a man in self-defense, which leads to Norman's being accused of murder, at the same time his father is prosecuted for the death of the Chinese shopkeeper. At the end of the novel they are both acquitted, Heather and Mark are married, and Norman returns to Red Ochre, where he finds the body of Tocky and their child in a water tank in which she had taken refuge from the authorities. (Source: Oxford Companion to Australian Literature)

Capricornia
North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1989
y separately published work icon Birds of Passage Brian Castro , Sydney : Allen and Unwin , 1983 Z376037 1983 single work novel (taught in 1 units) North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1989
y separately published work icon White Topee Eve Langley , Sydney London : Angus and Robertson , 1954 Z454301 1954 single work novel North Ryde : Angus and Robertson , 1989
y separately published work icon Alien Son Judah Waten , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1952 Z53291 1952 selected work short story autobiography (taught in 2 units) North Ryde : Angus and Robertson , 1989
y separately published work icon Conference-Ville Frank Moorhouse , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1976 Z395439 1976 single work novel North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1989
y separately published work icon The Time of the Peacock : Stories Mena Abdullah , Ray Mathew , New York (City) : Roy Publishers , 1965 Z519582 1965 selected work short story Most of the twelve stories in the collection are narrated by the small Indian girl, Nimmie, who weaves together the sometimes happy, sometimes sad, strands of a mixed Moslem and Hindu Indian-Australian home community in near physical isolation from city or town life. North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1989
y separately published work icon Tiburon Kylie Tennant , 1935-1936 Z1276004 1935 single work novel North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1989
y separately published work icon Burn David Ireland , Cremorne : Angus and Robertson , 1974 Z125279 1974 single work novel North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1989
y separately published work icon The Young Desire It : A Novel Seaforth MacKenzie , London : Jonathan Cape , 1937 Z182314 1937 single work novel (taught in 1 units)

'In the late afternoon of a day in February, that hottest of Australian summer months, when a brutal sun stood bronze above the river flats which you may see from the dormitory windows of Chatterton, Charles came to the school with his mother, walking from the railway station to the gates by a private path across a burnt, untidy field, overhung with Cape lilacs that still drooped, dusty and melancholy…In the lower part of his belly fear kicked and pulsed like a child in the womb, ready to be born.

'Fifteen-year-old Charles Fox is sent away to boarding school, innocent, alone and afraid. There one of his masters develops an intense attachment to him. But when Charles meets Margaret, a girl staying at a nearby farm for the holidays, he is besotted, and a passionate, unforgettable romance begins. ' (Publication summary : Text Classics)

North Ryde : Sirius Books , 1989
y separately published work icon The Refuge : A Confession Kenneth Mackenzie , London Sydney : Jonathan Cape Angus and Robertson , 1954 Z182530 1954 single work novel crime

'Late at night Lloyd Fitzherbert, police reporter with the Sydney Gazette, is picked up by his man in CIB for a ‘last-minute job that won’t take a minute’ at the morgue. A body has been found in the harbour. Irma, a beautiful young woman who fled persecution in Nazi Europe, is dead.

'She was Fitzherbert’s lover. And, though the police don’t know it yet, he killed her.

'Gripping and atmospheric, The Refuge is a murderer’s confession—a tale of wartime Sydney, with its paranoia about communism and spies. Kenneth Mackenzie’s last novel is utterly different to his lauded debut, The Young Desire It, yet it shares that book’s psychological acuity and mastery of language.' (Text Classic summary)

Sydney : Sirius Books , 1989

Works about this Work

Out of the Silence : Fine Australian Novels Make a Comeback Robert Darby , 1981 single work criticism
— Appears in: Independent Australian , vol. 4 no. 3 1981; (p. 48-51)
Out of the Silence : Fine Australian Novels Make a Comeback Robert Darby , 1981 single work criticism
— Appears in: Independent Australian , vol. 4 no. 3 1981; (p. 48-51)
Last amended 9 May 2007 11:53:14
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