Darwin by Dell Brand

About the Book

The Northern Territory was a harsh and demanding place in 1920 when Charles Dalton becomes the new boss-man on a remote cattle station. He must work with blacks, half-castes and coloureds to get things done and his colonial attitudes risk him losing everything.

Charles Dalton returns from Europe after World War I with his English bride, Grace, believing he will help run the family’s sheep station in South Australia. However his domineering father has other ideas and the young couple are sent to the Northern Territory to run a recently-acquired, remote cattle station. They begin life on Gracemere, determined to thrive both in their marriage and by making the station a financial success.

Although Charles immediately falls in love with the Territory, Grace struggles with the isolation on Gracemere and begins spending more and more time in Darwin. After the birth of children, Daisy and Jack, Grace eventually moves to Darwin permanently and Charles takes up with his aboriginal housemaid, Jenny. Two half-castes, Billy and Rosie, are born. Later, officials come and take these two children to a mission school in Darwin.

Meanwhile back in Darwin, Eddie Wong works in his parents’ Chinese grocery store. And in Dutch-controlled Batavia, Pieter and Corrie Bakker settle into a new life in Java with their children, Henrik and Adriana.

Twenty years on, Charles is still rearing cattle and running shooting and fishing camps with the assistance of Jack. His white-supremist outlook on life has changed little and he has passed on this prejudice to his two white children. Daisy is nursing at the hospital in Darwin while Rosie and Billy both work on Gracemere with little credit or renumeration.

Eddie has a job on Darwin’s wharf, Henrik is in Holland training to be a pilot and Adriana is finishing school in Batavia.

Then World War II breaks out.



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