'Without doubt Judy was the worst of the seven, probably because she was the cleverest.'
'Her father, Captain Woolcot, found his vivacious, cheeky daughter impossible – but seven children were really too much for him and most of the time they ran wild at their rambling riverside home, Misrule.
'Step inside and meet them all – dreamy Meg, and Pip, daring Judy, naughty Bunty, Nell, Baby and the youngest, 'the General'. Come and share in their lives, their laughter and their tears.' (From the publisher's website.)
Largely adapted from Ethel Turner's Seven Little Australians, with some incidents from Miss Bobbie also incorporated into the narrative.
The critical reception to the play was almost unanimously positive, with most critics agreeing that writer/director/producer Beaumont Smith had captured the spirit of the original stories and had succeeded in staging it for the benefit of the children present. Well before the 1914 Palace Theatre premiere Smith indicated his intention, saying that Seven Little Australians had been on his mind as a theatrical production for several years and that he 'always felt that children should have plays written for them for daytime performances.' He went on to further note that he believed that they should also be written in a childish spirit, with the point of view always being from that of a child' (Adelaide Mail 2 May 1914, p. 13).
A feature film based on Ethel Turner's novel of the same name, Seven Little Australians celebrates the energetic, free-wheeling spirit of Australian youth. The storyline follows the escapades of the seven Woolcot children as they struggle to win the affections of their strict father while simultaneously attempting to exert their own independent identities.
In this 1939 cinematic adaptation, Captain Woolcot is portrayed as a harsher, less loving character rather than a father whose love for his family is being suppressed by his belief in discipline.
A five-part television series based on Ethel Turner's novel of the same name, this BBC version of Seven Little Australians was produced primarily for children. The storylines follow the escapades of the seven Woolcot children as they struggle to win the affections of their strict father.
A radio adaptation of Ethel Turner's novel.
A ten-part television mini-series adapted from the 1894 novel Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner (q.v.). Set in Sydney in the 1890s, the stories concern Captain Woolcot, an English widower with seven children, who has recently married again. The family lives in their large home 'Misrule,' which lies along the banks of the Parramatta River. As an officer in the New South Wales Regiment, Woolcot attempts to implement regimental discipline but is constantly harassed and embarrassed by the antics of his seven mischievous children: Meg, Pip, Judy, Nell, Bunty, Baby, and 'The General.' Since he is unable to control them, it is his new wife who invariably takes on all the trials of bringing up the children, with the most difficult child being the ring-leader Helen, commonly known as Judy.
Based on the famous Ethel Turner stories and made possible by a Bicentenary gift from James Hardie Industries, this musical version of Seven Little Australians concerns gruff widower and army officer Captain Woolcot, his six tear-away children, his demure new wife (who is not much older than his oldest daughter), and their baby son.
'Not one of these seven little Australians are really good, because Australian children never are!
The adventures of the seven mischievous Woolcot children, their stern father Captain Woolcot, and young stepmother, Esther, in early Australia' (Villanova Players website).
'Turner’s Seven Little Australians (Turner, 1894) was written more than one hundred years prior to Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (Gaiman, 2008) and their settings are separated by more than 15000km. Despite these vast disparities in time and location, they share a surprising level of commonality founded in gender-based power constructs generated through their narration. As popular children’s novels, each narrative has played a role in perpetuating the patriarchal norms including the silencing of strong women and the forgiveness of flawed men. The impact of these literary voices in the shaping of children’s understanding of gender norms cannot be understated. In 2018, a decade on from the release of The Graveyard Book (Gaiman, 2008) and 124 years since the publication of Seven Little Australians (Turner, 1894) children’s literature still places the narratological power firmly in the hands of the male protagonists. CYoung readers are well overdue for a shift in narratological power.'
Source: Author's abstract.
'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)