Australian Classics: Vision Splendid

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Author: Tom Ronan

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There's a personal history atmosphere to this 1000 pounds' prize winner in Australia's Commonwealth Jubilee Literary Competition which chronicles a man's life in the Northern Territory of Australia. The author himself has known forty years there on a cattle station and his hero, Charles Toppingham, must certainly trace many of his creator's footsteps. Young Charles, at the end of World War I, has high hopes of success when he emigrates to his land of dreams. On through World War II, he sees those same dreams fade-but never loses his love of his adopted country. Planning on bringing out a bride, he succumbs to the need of his own lubra; sure of a life of action, he spends his years as a bookkeeper, with now and then a chance to ride on a cattle drive or pal around with the incorrigible Marty; he gets to know all kinds of Pastoral Inspectors and company managers; he tries the life in the city and finds romance-but a bad, drunken joke sends him back to the station. His long association with Block Bryan, about to quit the current speed-up, assures him a future to his liking. The ""little man"" who doesn't ask for much achieves a satisfactory life without complaint and embodies the isolation, loneliness and endurance of the Australian cattlemen through the changing years. Sturdy.

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