If this is Friday then I must have been to a copper mine north of Meekatharra, though by the time you’re reading this it’ll be Saturday and I’ll have got back to Perth, hooked up two loaded trailers and be on my way to Kalgoorlie.
The sign above is from my Wednesday delivery, a mine on the edge of the Nularbor, out towards Balladonia. In Kim Scott’s Benang, his great grandfather Sandy One Mason is a teamster delivering supplies out of Esperance to amongst other places, Balladonia which I guess was then a sheep station (it’s now a roadhouse 180 km from the nearest town), based on his wife, Fanny’s (Benang) knowledge of the country.
In all this driving I am drowning in wordy books, reading when I get the chance Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, and listening to Canterbury Tales, Vanity Fair, and over the last couple of days, Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria, which will be my next review.
But a letter this morning from my cousin Kay, a librarian in Bendigo who last got a mention three years ago, has alerted me to a story in the Age about a ‘treasure trove’ of nineteenth century Australian fiction which has only recently come to light with the digitisation of old newspapers.
Linda Morris writes: “When Katherine Bode, an associate professor at the Australian National University, set out to answer this question, she had only a vague sense that some fiction was printed in Australian newspapers in the 19th and early 20th centuries.” (!)
“The more than 21,000 forgotten novels, novellas and short stories she has uncovered indicate that early newspapers published fiction constantly, from Australia and all over the world, and everyone was reading it.
“The collection includes seven rediscovered titles from well-known writer Catherine Martin, author of the acclaimed 1890 novel The Australian Girl [my review].
“Martin was a feminist writer of her time but her stories were published anonymously or under a pseudonym and had therefore been lost to literary history until now, according to Dr Bode.
“You can visit the project and search, read, correct, add or export the works by visiting To Be Continued – The Australian Newspaper Fiction Database at cdhrdatasys.anu.edu.au/tobecontinued/.
I’ll do that, just as soon as I get to spend a day at home. Meanwhile, one more pic …
Linda Morris, Australian National University Researchers recover lost treasure trove, the Age, Melbourne, 1 Mar 2018 here