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non-fiction

The book cover of Tom and Jack

Tom and Jack

Geraldine Byrne
ISBN:1 92073 107 5
RRP: $29.95

Tom and Jack tells the story of the Kilfoyles, cousins of the Duracks, who played a major part in the original overland cattle drive from Queensland to the mouth of the Ord River on the border between the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and were instrumental in establishing the cattle industry in that part of the country.

Unlike Mary Durack ’s famous Kings In Grass Castles, Geraldine Byrne ’s account is based completely on fact. What emerges is not only a wonderfully intimate account of the day to day problems and hardships faced by these early pioneers as they struggled to make a living in the most sparsely settled region of the continent but also an account that seriously questions some of the assumptions that were made by Mary Durack in her imaginative recreation.

Jack Kilfoyle, for example is portrayed as a colourful character who did things his own way and had, for the time, very enlightened ideas on land management and a more sympathetic attitude to the local Aborigines than many of his contemporaries.



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