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Silent the Sahib single work   novel   adventure   romance  
Issue Details: First known date: 1923... 1923 Silent the Sahib
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

From the author's Prologue (dated 1923, Darling River) : 'Nothing has been written - little is known - of the types of Australians who exist in the practically unexplored desert plains of the Great Outback, bordering the fringes of the great, slow-running Western rivers. There may be found the big-shouldered, hard-muscled river-men who fight the floods and droughts, and are the hardy spirits that recognise no defeat: whether the seasons are good or bad they somehow always manage to send the files of camel-teams back across the plains to the Eastern railway centres heavily laden with precious wool-packs of the desert station owners.

And through the heart of the plains themselves, down from the Territory to the Western rivers of the Home State, sinewy Afghans steer their camel-trains through the trackless sands, laden with merchandise, never worrying of the waterless wastes, the brilliant stars of the heavens their only guide, resting occasionally on the long wearisome route by some hidden desert oasis - a jewelled amethyst in the scintillating setting of the yellow sands. These brown-skinned, black-eyed men know these open spaces as well as they know the lines upon the palms of their knarled hands.

That is the reality through law-abiding eyes - but see its other aspect!

Not always are these regularly moving teams laden merely with commercial merchandise, but often inoffensive bales of goods secrete the ware of the Desert Smugglers - opium, cocaine - 'white snow', and other illicit alkaloids...[from Asia]

These lonely plains are rich in minerals, the soil wonderfully fertile, and the little-known country affords law-breakers ample hiding room; but the set, grim-lipped, stern-eyed troopers - some mere youngsters when the count in years is taken - with untiring patience patrol the undulating country, keepingits numberless acres remarkably free of outlawry, and oftimes bringing to justice law-breakers of which the roaring, hustling cities never dream.

All that is concrete fact - not one iota of fiction.'

Synopsis (p.801): ' Nelson Paxter, successful broker, popular clubman and man about town, is suddenly ordered by his physician to take up life in the bush for four years, choosing the silent desert wastes, whence he is known as the trusted Sahib of the desert.'

Affiliation Notes

  • Associated with the AustLit subset Australian Literary Responses to 'Asia' as the work contains Afghan characters and has references to 'Asia'.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1923
Serialised by: The Australian Journal 1865 periodical (901 issues)

First instalment 1 October, 1923.

Final instalment 1 May 1924.

Last amended 18 Oct 2013 16:18:22
  • Australian Outback, Central Australia,
  • Central Australia,
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