State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 60 Spring 1997

From Canvas Town to Marvellous Melbourne: Melbourne in Colonial Children's Novels

Saturday night is market night all the world over, and in Melbourne, no less than in London, the poorer parts of the town are filled with an eager crowd, buying, selling, shouting, gazing and bargaining. Long sheds of corrugated iron line a wide open space, where people thronged and gas burners flared
The groups of men, women and children standing around the sheds, were as varied in their appearance as the goods displayed for sale. Irish women with shawls over their heads and tongues that never ceased chattering for a moment; bronzed and bearded bushmen come in from the surrounding districts to make purchases; city waifs and strays, ragged and unkempt as any London street arabs and yellow-faced Chinamen in petticoats and pigtails gliding silently among the throng. (Whiting, 1890: 6)
Whiting's novel Josee: an Australian Story (1890) opens with an evocative picture of working-class, pluralist Melbourne on market night, a Melbourne she never visited. Many writers of the period depicted colonial life from afar, and of the eleven authors discussed here, four never set foot in the land they portray so colourfully, and only one was born in Australia, Colonial children's novels were intended largely for an overseas, rather than a local readership, and a literate, educated and often pious audience. Australia with its droughts, floods, fires, bushrangers and Aborigines, provided a new and exotic setting for the predominant genre of the period — the boys’ adventure story. Shaping these narratives, suffused with the ethos and attitudes of Empire, was popular imperialism, the principal ideology of the nineteenth century. It was important that young readers should learn about their Empire and feel confident that its values would be transposed to the colonies. Robust, masculine adventure signified its vigour while the Protestant work ethic was the keystone of the physical and moral structure on which new settlement depended.
A conventional pattern emerges in the narratives of nineteenth-century colonial life: a family, often motherless, or a youthful, male hero, would fall, blamelessly, on hard times in England, emigrate to the antipodes, enduring a shipwreck or at least a storm en route and re-establish their position and wealth with relative ease. Despite experiencing the spectrum of indigenous hardships, in one notable case, flood, fire and drought in one chapter, the family would suffer no enduring privation. The motifs of death, separation, families torn from their roots and struggling in a hostile environment characterised frontier stories and furnished a rugged testing ground for characters and readers alike.

Plate 1: Sleepy Bye Bye and the Parcel Post (Sydney: Publicity Press, ca 1948). Reproduced with permission of the Sinclair family

Plate 2: Doggy Dimple's Rag and Bone Rhymes (Sydney: Publicity Press, ca 1945). Reproduced with permission of the Sinclair family

Plate 3: Clock Book (Sydney: Publicity Press, ca 1950). Reproduced with permission of the Sinclair family

Plate 4: Alice Through the Looking Glass (Sydney: Publicity Press, ca 1945). Reproduced with permission of the Sinclair family

Plate 5: ‘They entered the shadow of their building'. From Pearl's Place by Bob Graham. Reproduced with permission of Lothian Books

Plate 6: Space Travellers by Margaret Wild. Illustrated by Gregory Rogers. Reproduced with permission of Scholastic Australia

Plate 7: ‘But the Art Gallery man wouldn't let us in unless…’ From Our Excursion by Kate Walker. Illustrated by David Cox. Reproduced with permission of Omnibus

Plate 8: ‘Let's imagine our house is a ship at sea’ From The Spirit of Hope by Bob Graham. Reproduced with permission of Lothian Books

Plate 9: Way Home by Libby Hathorn. Illustrated by Gregory Rogers. Reproduced with permission of Random House Australia

Plate 10: Came Back to Show You I Could Fly by Robin Klein. Dustjacket illustration by Vivienne Goodman; design by Cathy van Ee. Reproduced with permission of Penguin Australia

Plate 11: Change the Locks by Simon French. Dustjacket illustration by Greg Rogers. Reproduced with permission of Scholastic Australia

Plate 12: Wallis's Complete Voyage Round the World. A New Geographical Pastime. (London, 1796; this ed. 1801). Reproduced with permission of the State Library of South Australia

Plate 13: (at left) Figuren-Alphabetspiel auf Wurfel: Alphabet figures play upon dice. Miniature blocks. (Germany, ca 1840). (at center) The Aunt's Gift. [Battledore]. (1795). (at right) The Infant's Library. Book 5. (London: John Marshall, 1801).

Plate 14: The Life of Emigration. [A Dissected Puzzle] (ca 1852). Reproduced with permission of the State Library of South Australia

Plate 15: Race to the Gold Diggings of Australia. (ca 1855). Reproduced with permission of the State Library of South Australia

Plate 16: Three games from the 1880s. (at top left) Jeu Joyeux an Kangourou. (at top right) Zoological Lotto. (at bottom) Cosmos. Reproduced with permission of the State Library of South Australia

Children's books about early settlement and colonial life were written predominantly by middle-class writers who were anxious to instruct children on how life was to be lived and to transmit dominant values. Two of the largest publishers were The Religious Tract Society, ‘the foremost nineteenth-century institutional publisher of children's fiction’ (Bratton, 1981:32) and the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, indicating the strong moral and didactic nature of much colonial children's publishing. This socialising motive in children's books makes them useful indicators of prevailing societal attitudes. Juvenile literature was steeped in every aspect of imperialism. It functions, therefore not just as a mirror of the age but as an active agency constructing and perpetuating a view of the world in which British imperialism was an integral part of the cultural and psychological formation of each new generation of readers.’ (Richards, 1989: 3) These attitudes gained wide circulation through publication, coinciding as they did with the rise of the mass market and free compulsory education.
From its humble beginnings — ‘This will be the place for the future village’ — to ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ the pre eminent colonial city of the 1880s, Melbourne's changing portrayal in children's books follows the fortunes of the city from frontier town during the turbulent gold rushes, through to a fine example of transplanted British society. Writers focus on the obvious elements — buildings, the colourful poor, mix of races, outrageous examples of profligacy — that made colonial life interesting to their English readers. There is little to read about how people occupied themselves in the cities, such as with cricket matches for the well-to-do or Australian rules football for the poorer classes. Australia was interesting primarily for its peculiarities, especially those found in its interior, not for the lived life of its cities. Stories of urban, family and school life were left for a later, more settled period and for the attention of Australian-born writers writing for Australian children.
Melbourne, population 500, a scattering of tents and crude wattle and daub huts huddled on the northern bank of the Yarra, was officially named by Governor Bourke in March 1837. By 1839 its population was 3,000, and, although it was still a rugged settlement, the appearance of brick and stone buildings marked the beginnings of permanence. Its people were roughly dressed, including the landed gentry, and gave scant acknowledgment to the notion that appearance and clothing were required to indicate class. When Governor La Trobe arrived during that year, he resolved to make the town ‘which either wallowed in mud or choked on dust’ a less vulgar outpost of Empire.
Melbourne was an entry point for pastoralists opening up the new lands of Australia Felix, and for the Scottish, Irish and English poor, exported from their homelands to preserve stability at home but also to establish a British presence in the antipodes. They were expected to work hard, be frugal and develop the colonies on the British model. As the squatters moved in to settle Port Phillip Melbourne
grew, but it was the gold fever of the 1850s that had the greatest and most lasting impact on Melbourne's development, and which inspired writers to take note of its rather tawdry yet fascinating character.
Some accounts of Melbourne in the children's books of the time, such as Whiting's, are descriptive of the physical surroundings, the buildings, the streets, the dwellings, rather than the life of the city or its inhabitants. Others, such as Farjeon's, e.g. The Golden Land (1886), portray the mixed population of Melbourne, ‘where poverty and vice struggle for breathing space'. His immigrant family, the Spencers, are confronted at the expense of the available lodgings. They are fascinated and excited by the flashy exhibitions of newly gotten wealth, the highly visible Chinese, the Gold Escort and deserting sailors forsaking the seas for the prospect of gold. However, the real interest in Australia for the writers and readers is the bush not the cities, which are simply colourful landing points before the action is moved to the more interesting goldfields or sheep runs. So, after a brief stay in the town, the Spencers leave Melbourne to travel to the Murray River property of their wealthy Uncle William.
Pitman's Florence Godfrey's Faith (1882) documents the loss and restoration of the Godfrey family fortunes, Mr Godfrey's job in the cotton manufacturing industry being a victim of the effects of the American Civil War. Arriving in Melbourne they are taken by ‘the vessels of all builds and sizes riding at anchor, bearing flags belonging to every nation on the face of the earth. Even Chinese junks were not wanting to complete the scene.’ (Pitman, 1883:116) Mr Godfrey displays the Englishman's unconscious arrogance in his remark to the local Mr Bowes: ‘I was unprepared for a city of such dimensions. It seems to bid fair to outshine many an English one.’ The colonial propagandist Mr Bowes is not about to lose an opportunity: ‘And yet it has not been founded thirty years… We colonials have new and vigorous life in us, and we out-step you old-country people in a little time.’ (Pitman, 1883:117)
This is a central motif of many novels of this period — the image of the colonials as capable of grasping opportunities, working hard with enterprise and amassing fortunes, regardless of background. They are symbols of the egalitarian character of colonial life. Many a humorous anecdote is told exposing the ‘new chum's’ ineptitude, despite his good breeding or book learning, in the face of the ‘Australian’ way of life. Not so the Godfreys who are a model of the success story. Arriving as tentative, pale English folk, their mettle is immediately tested on a sheep run, and they emerge in the final pages reborn as successful, tanned, healthy, colonial landowners.
Melbourne in the 1850s was a rough frontier, seen by Pitman as characteristic of a ‘newly peopled seaport which is continually bringing together the scum and riffraff of different countries’. (Pitman, 1882:118) Alger's heroes in The Nugget Finders (1893?) follow a similar course to the Godfrey family, but it is the goldfields that restore their prosperity. Alger opens his story with a description of the eight-mile
journey from the port along the Yarra to Melbourne which is ‘situated chiefly on the north bank, and is a handsomely built and prosperous town. The country bordering the river is not particularly inviting … the soil was barren and sandy, and the trees, which were numerous, were eucalyptus or gum trees’. (Alger, 1893?:11)
This is Melbourne during the heady days of gold, and the two boys, Harry Vane and Jack Pendleton, find accommodation and dining at the Crown Hotel expensive and are anxious to move on to make money rather than spend it. The night before they leave for Bendigo they take a ‘farewell walk’ around the less frequented streets of Melbourne and, being good lads, prevent a robbery. Crime and vice are evident in many descriptions of the ‘back streets’ of the city and are used by some authors of the period as a chance for colourful embellishment. Harry and Jack make their fortunes on the goldfields, a future about which there was little doubt, they being upright, virtuous and hardworking models of imperialist manliness.
‘A fowler sink of iniquity than Melbourne in 1852 cannot be imagined,’ says Hodgetts in Tom's Nugget (1888:44), a sentiment echoed by Sargent in his description of Melbourne in the 1850s in Frank Layton as ‘a Babel or a Bedlam’. (Sargent, 1865: 278) ‘Canvas Town’, a clump of hastily assembled tents on the southern side of the Yarra, is the only affordable accommodation for many whose circumstances have made necessary their residence there. Hodgetts and Sargent describe the overcrowding in a fledgling city, unable to cope with the sudden influx of population. Sargent relishes the awfulness of it:
In dens nine feet square, in the stifling heat of an Australian summer — half devoured by fleas of the most ferocious character, crawled over by myriads of disgusting cockroaches, blinded by clouds of mosquitos, and menaced by bold and angry rats — men, women and children sweltered together by the dozen, through the livelong night, to recommence a vain search on the coming day for better accommodation. (Sargent, 1865: 277)
The seedy existence has its effects on those living in Canvas Town:
Squalid wretchedness and hopeless perplexity were the prevailing features of the scene, intermingled with some sickly attempts at pleasantry, and languid imitations of a commercial spirit… men, women and children in all stages of discomfort, discontent, and positive destitution and wretchedness, lounged, wrangled, quarrelled, or otherwise disposed of themselves in dire confusion; … there were more idlers than workers. (Sargent, 1865: 294)
Sargent evokes little sympathy for those living in such dismal circumstances, inviting the reader to see them as responsible for their own decline, having abandoned their obligation to labour. Frank Layton, the eponymous young hero, left without an inheritance after his father's death, has emigrated to make his way by working on a station. Initially he finds it hard to accommodate the rough bush conveniences with his own ‘cultivated taste of a highly polished life', however, he proves to be made
of stern stuff and can therefore express no genuine feeling for the plight of ‘poor Cousin Bessie’, caught in Canvas Town and likely to be there for perpetuity. Not such a model of British manhood as Frank, Bessie's husband is untried and untested in the bush and has ‘no aptitude nor determination… energy or perseverance.’ (Sargent, 1865:373)
While similarly appalled at the wanton, vulgar life in Canvas Town, his disgust deepened by his disapproval of intemperance, Hodgetts concedes that circumstances have compelled families to live in its squalid confines. This is not however, any excuse to slide into the drunkenness and profligacy resulting from the ‘poison called rum’. Avarice too is inevitably destructive: ‘The greed of gold had drawn to the colony people whose whole soul was immersed in the love of gain.’ (Hodgetts, 1888:44). The desire for easy money is a vice made more iniquitous if no work is involved in its accumulation. ‘For the news of the enormous wealth discovered in the Australian goldfields had attracted many persons to the scene of operation who had no idea of working.’ (Hodgetts, 1888:59) Effortless profits were the shifting sands threatening the foundations of Empire, while arduous toil promised more solid footings. There was a deep concern that the indiscriminate distribution of wealth provided by gold was subverting the social order of rank and class. Members of the working classes were not adhering to the values of industry and frugality, and were not staying behind the scenes. They were highly visible in the precincts which rightly belonged to the genteel classes.
In Tom's Nugget, the Hardy family's straitened circumstances make necessary their temporary sojourn in Canvas Town, temporary because they are made of the right fabric to overcome this unfortunate situation. Their essential gentility and undeniable class ensure they will rise above such setbacks. ‘Mrs Dumps (a doctor's wife) recognised in her [Mrs Hardy] not only the results of a fair amount of education, but qualities which would have stood her in good stead in any class of society.’ (Hodgetts, 1888:43) The Hardys are rescued and live with the Dumps until their situation improves — until Tom finds a large gold nugget. This apparent contradiction in Hodgetts's position — that the family's station is restored by luck rather than by dint of sustained labour — is readily justified. Firstly, Tom does not intend to find gold. While playing near the river at ‘Bendigerrat', more interested in platypuses than treasure, he finds the biggest nugget ever attributed to the district. Secondly, Tom has earned his good fortune by saving his father from gambling, nursing both patents back to health and capturing a wanted man — and he is only eight-years-old! His good fortune is the fitting reward for noble deeds, not the capricious result of luck, and furthermore the wealth is put to sensible use. Tom does not flaunt his prosperity by eating £500 note sandwiches as some miners were seen to do in an account of tales of remarkable profligacy. The Hardys return to England with their regained affluence, a happy ending for English readers.
The gold rushes, while providing authors with colour, adventure and excitement, are nevertheless seen as an aberration in the development of Melbourne as a model of Empire. Values were skewed in these adventurous times, which attracted to the possibility of a quick fortune, ruffians — hard-drinking, gambling, tough, racist, chauvinist and hedonistic men — the antithesis of the courteous, brave, generous, pure and compassionate paragon of Christian manliness. Authors are quick to condemn lawlessness, drunkenness and squalor. ‘Murders, stabbings and other outrages were of frequent occurrence in the city; and throughout the country round prowling ruffians — escaped convicts from Sydney or Van Dieman's Land [sic] were ever ready to waylay and murder the wandering digger.’ (Borlase, 1885:3) Sargent depicts similar episodes of murder, highway robbery and thefts from miners. The lower classes are responsible for criminal acts, ‘convicts’ according to Borlase and ‘groups of men — evidently of the lowest order’ according to Sargent (1865:279). The tone adopted by both writers is titillating and designed to induce a deliciously shocked intake of breath in the young, middle-class reader. Evidence of ‘low life’ is apparent in Melbourne in the 1850s, and writers such as Borlase and Sargent place it firmly as belonging to a particular class, rather than presenting it as the product of circumstance or the social conditions at the time. It is exacerbated by a disregard for the protestant work ethic. Colonial characters in the books may proclaim Australia an egalitarian society, but the writers, in portraying the typical colonial as a man who earns too much money and spends it all on drink, reveal a social view that demands that the societal structures of Britain be replicated in the colonies. The confusion of rank and status makes for social instability.
Fortunately the reckless days of gold are short-lived, and when Tom (Hodgetts, 1888) comes back to Melbourne four years after his family had left, he finds ‘the place had greatly changed … Things were more settled; the frantic craze for gold had passed away and true colonial energy had taken its place.’ (Hodgetts, 1888: 286) Similarly, when Harry and Jack return to Melbourne after their time on the goldfields they are surprised at the roofs and spires that have moved heavenward in their absence. They visit a friend, a wholesale merchant and importer, whose office ‘was situated in one of the handsomest blocks in Little Collins Street.’ (Alger, 1893?: 168)
It is important to the imperialist imperative that the colonies develop into models of Empire, and, while the colonials might extol their virtues of enterprise and success, they are doing little more than what is expected of them. Respectable, profitable Melbourne, embodied in the buildings and businesses of Collins Street, is contrasted with the poverty, corruption and dissolution lurking in the alleyways behind. The lines drawn between the respectable and successful and the unsuccessful and degenerate are based on class, a commitment to the protestant work ethic, and the width of the streets in which they reside. In Josee, one of the few novels which depict the working class as other than distasteful, sensationalised background,
Duncan, a rough but kind-hearted bushman, is taken reluctantly through the back alleys of Melbourne by a little waif, ‘down one of the narrowest streets that lead away from the market-place … [the door] gave access to an uninviting network of dark rooms and passage.’ (Whiting, 1890: 10) In the dimly lit room, the little girl's mother is dying. Widowed and unable to get a job because of ill-health, she is destitute. She begs Duncan to take the child and her only money — £5. Whiting, revealing attitudes not characteristic of the period, presents this picture of poverty without judging or moralising. The reader is invited to see the woman as a victim of circumstance. Josee avoids the judgemental and voyeuristic tone that often accompanies descriptions of poverty in novels of the period. However, once the reader turns the corner, leaving behind the dank, dim alleys, a different Melbourne is apparent in the ‘wide streets, beautiful shops and great public buildings.’ (Whiting, 1890: 6)
Melbourne had been set on its way to become ‘the metropolis of the Australian colonies’. Parliament House with its Roman arches and Greek columns, the Melbourne Public Library with its dome modelled on that of the British Museum, the Melbourne Club, the Melbourne Grammar School, and the Scots Church elevated Melbourne to the level of paradigm of old world structures and values. Roads, bridges, the railway station, gasworks and water supply were developed on a grand scale. The poor, however, were still the pariahs of society but were no longer visible on the centre stage. There was no need to disturb the vision of Melbourne as a ‘sparkling symbol of Anglo Saxon progress’ (White, 1981: 49) by portraying in books for young readers the larrikin pushes, the sweat shops, the Chinese in Little Bourke Street, or the effects of the 1890s depression.
The new decade ushers in a new Melbourne allowing authors to give full rein to their vocabulary of superlatives:
This city with its glittering shops, its noble public buildings, elegant churches and charitable institutions — its theatres, concert halls, museums, libraries, giant warehouses and docks, its business and its riches; this city that cries second to few of its century-aged rivals in the old world … (Borlase, 1885:1)
Melbourne has become respectable and exemplary of ‘true colonial endeavour’, a shining example of the product of Empire, with its culture, prosperity, noblesse oblige and religion in full evidence. The books which include descriptions of Melbourne in the latter half of the nineteenth century extol the grand physical and architectural examples of success. Apart from Whiting's novel, there is little acknowledgment of anything other than ‘Marvellous Melbourne'. Writers could comfortably assure readers that this colonial outpost was a true son of Empire. Now that the poverty and squalor was hidden behind the noble edifices and the impressive boulevards the poor could be ignored completely.
No author is better equipped than Alexander Macdonald, with his florid phrases and purple prose, to portray Melbourne in the late nineteenth century. In The Quest of the Black Opals (1908) he describes:
the noble edifices [rearing] into the deep blue dome of the sky with a profusion that seemed extravagant… graceful verandahs … well dressed people … majestic thoroughfares…’
These signs of prosperous industry demonstrate ‘that the people who built it were capable indeed of doing almost anything.’ (Macdonald, 1908:14) Marvellous Melbourne provided unlimited possibilities for those who were prepared to be industrious. People who failed to grasp the opportunity were seen as abrogating their responsibility to ‘work as a moral imperative, the only path to happiness and prosperity’. (Bratton, 1981:43) Now that Melbourne was a visibly stable, prosperous society such moral shirkers were of little consequence.
Macdonald, in a filmic sequence brim-full of salacious detail and superlative adjectives, takes the reader along a route up Swanston Street to Collins Street, through the Block Arcade to Elizabeth Street, through Coles Book Arcade to Bourke Street, the Post Office, back up Swanston Street to the ‘world-famed Museum and Art Galleries’ and onto an ‘excellent lunch in one of the many really first-class places’ in Collins Street. (Macdonald, 1908:14-17)
The only account of what it was like to live in Melbourne during the latter half of the nineteenth century comes in brief glimpses in the novel In the Depths of the Sea by ‘Old Boomerang’ (1885). This novel, unlike the books already discussed, was written for a local audience and has no lengthy descriptions of Melbourne. The central character, Ben, finds employment in a card-box factory in Flinders Lane for fifty shillings a week, the author using this incident to comment on the progress of the manufacturing industries at the time. There is no mention of the establishment of the eight-hour day thirty years earlier. Ben spends his leisure hours in the Melbourne Public Library and attends the School of Design in Carlton. In many respects Ben epitomises the success of the individual and of the colonial city at the close of the century. His success has been achieved by his commitment to and capacity for hard work. Furthermore, he uses his leisure time to improve himself and is not extravagant with his earnings. The middle classes with their commitment to work, self-improvement and solid values have established a substantial Melbourne.
As the new-century begins, the novels are much less self-conscious in depicting Australian life. Australia achieved nationhood with Federation in 1901. Britain's imperial pre-eminence had been challenged by the Boer War, for which it needed colonial help. These factors, Australia's sense of independence and its identity as a nation coupled with the blow to Britain's colonial confidence by the Boers, are reflected in the changed attitudes towards Melbourne. It is still a setting for stories but is no longer merely a frontier outpost; it has become a place where people work
and live. The descriptions are of a settled, confident and established city. Collins Street, a primary thoroughfare, continues to define Melbourne as this description by locally born author Marion Downes, portraying Wattle Day early in the twentieth century, displays:
Collins Street with its massive buildings, its throngs of well-dressed people, is at any time a goodly sight with its busy traffic, broad clear pavements and mixture of “motors” and horse-drawn vehicles. (Downes, 1914: 162)
By the turn of the century the ascendancy of the adventure story was being challenged by domestic tales and school stories, awaiting its revival in the form of the war story. The intrepid hero was being superseded by the realistic child whose daily, small-scale adventures provided mimetic realism for the readers, now more likely to be Australian than English. Melbourne still manages to impress, but in Downes's Flower o'the Bush (1914) it is a child from country Victoria who is impressed. Its services not its symbolic value are what characterise the city's place in the books. The inhabitants have moved to the suburbs — the affluent to Kew and Hawthorn, the working classes to Abbotsford and Collingwood — leaving the central city to be a place of business. In 1907 in Eustace Boylan's The Heart of the School (1919), ten-year-old Peter Jackson from the country arrives in Melbourne for the first time to attend Xavier College as a boarder:
The sight of the great buildings suggestive of such wealth and energy, the overwhelming rush and roar of traffic, the blaze of light from the street lamps and from the shop windows fairly staggered him. (Boylan, 1919: 68)
After dining, Peter travels to Flinders Street station and so taken is he (or Boylan) with ‘the wonders of railway… so spectacular at the great railway station of Melbourne’ that a whole chapter is given over to the description of the station and its trains. Later in the novel another school boy journeys from Kew to the city to visit an eye specialist in Collins Street, returning by horse and buggy.
Melbourne has finally and incontrovertibly achieved status as a product of the work ethic, a model of imperialist endeavour. It has divided itself according to activity, manufacturing rightly confining itself to the lane behind Flinders Street while specialist medical practices flourish in stylish Collins Street.
What colours the way the various authors present Melbourne and reveals their ideology is dependent on their class view and the imperative of Empire, whether in condemnation of those in deprived circumstances in novels portraying the 1850s or in the lauding of the hallmarks of visible success and affluence in the later novels. Once the poor move off centre stage (or the major streets) and are replaced by impressive edifices, their existence no longer impinges on the minds of the middle-class, imperialist writers who concentrate on the rewards of true endeavour. Apart from occasional references, Melbourne will have to wait for some decades before it
again becomes interesting to writers as a setting for stories for young readers. Ironically, it is the working-class aspects, the rich inner city mix of factories, ethnic enclaves, markets and night-life that will be used to characterise Melbourne's distinctive, cosmopolitan flavour in the later twentieth century.

Children's Novels

  • Alger, Horatio. The Nugget Finders: a Tale of the Goldfields of Australia. London: John F. Shaw, [1893?].

  • Borlase, James Skipp. Daring Deeds and Tales of Peril and Adventure. London: Warne, 1885.

  • Boylan, Eustace. The Heart of the School: an Australian School Story. Melbourne: J. Roy Stevens, 1919.

  • Downes, Marion. Flower o'the Bush. London: Ward Lock, 1914.

  • Farjeon, Benjamin Leopold. The Golden Land: or, Links From Shore to Shore. 2nd ed. London: Ward Lock, 1886.

  • Hodgetts, James Frederick. Tom's Nugget: a Story of the Australian Goldfields. London: Sunday School Union, 1888.

  • Macdonald, Alexander. The Quest of the Black Opals: a Tale of Adventure in the Heart of Australia. London: Blackie, 1907.

  • ‘Old Boomerang’. In the Depths of the Sea. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1885.

  • Pitman, Emma Raymond. Florence Godfrey's Faith: a Story of Australian Life. London: Blackie, 1882.

  • Sargent, George. Frank Layton: an Australian Story. London: The Religious Tract Society, 1865.

  • Whiting, Mary Bradford. Josee: an Australian Story. London: Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, 1890.


  • Bratton, J.S. The Impact of Victorian Children's Fiction. London: Croom Helm, 1981.

  • Clark, Manning. Manning Clark's History of Australia. Abridged ed. Michael Cathcart Ringwood: Penguin, 1993.

  • Lees, Stella and Pam Macintyre. The Oxford Companion to Australian Children's Literature. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1993.

  • Niall, Brenda. Australia Through the Looking-Glass: Children's Fiction 1830-1980. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1987.

  • Richards, Jeffrey (ed.). Imperialism and Juvenile Literature. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1989.

  • White, Richard. Inventing Australia: Images and Identity 1688-1980. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1981.

  • Wighton, Rosemary. Early Australian Children's Literature. Surrey Hills: Casuarina Press, 1979.