Thirty percent of Australians have Irish ancestry and a quarter of convicts sent to Australia were Irish. It was this fact, combined with a concern at the lack of Australian historical fiction that lead Kirsty Murray to write the Children of the Wind series.
In this first book, Bridie O’Connor finds herself alone in the workhouse after her family die of hunger during the potato famine. At the age of eleven she is given the chance to go to Australia where she is given work as a scullery maid for a wealthy Melbourne family.
But being a scullery maid is not part of Bridie’s dream for a better life. Together with the younger son of the house, Gilbert, she sets out for the goldfields, looking for fortune and happiness.
Bridie’s Fire is a gripping read for 10 to 14 year olds, creating a deep sense of time and place which will draw the young reader in.
Bridie’s Fire, by Kirsty Murray
Allen & Unwin, 2003