The Secret River Kate Grenville

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The Secret River is part of a trilogy about early Australia. It's set in the early nineteenth century, on what was then the frontier: the Hawkesbury River, fifty miles beyond Sydney. William Thornhill, an illiterate Thames bargeman and a man of quick temper but deep feelings, steals a load of timber and is transported to New South Wales in 1806. Like many of the convicts, he's pardoned within a few years and settles on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. Perhaps the Governor grants him the land or perhaps he just takes it - the Hawkesbury is at the extreme edge of settlement at that time and normal rules don't apply. However he gets the land, it's prime riverfront acreage. It looks certain to make him rich. There's just one problem with that land: it's already owned. It's been part of the territory of the Darug people for perhaps forty thousand years. They haven't left fences or roads or houses, but they live on that land and use it, just as surely as Thornhill's planning to do. First published in 2005, this edition 2012

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