Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop, by Hazel Edwards

‘Ready, set, go.’ Ernie Dunlop heaved the sack of grain onto his shoulder. His brother, Alan, was just behind him, struggling with a second sack. The two boys ran across the dusty farmyard, staggering under the loads. The hot sun was like needles on their skin.
‘You won again Ernie,’ panted Alan, dropping his sweaty sack on the growing pile. Ernie was taller than Alan who was 20 months older. Both boys had strong shoulders from the farm work. Often they made a competition out of the jobs around the farm, but long-legged Ernie usually won.

Ernie, who became known as Weary while at university, was born 1907. He and his brother grew up on a struggling family farm near Wangaratta. He was an inquisitive, spirited and very active child who knew early on that he wanted to be a doctor. He studied pharmacy then won a scholarship to study Medicine at Melbourne University. While studying, he became a skilful rugby player. When war was declared, Weary joined up, keen to put his surgeon skills to good use. But as well as being a skilled surgeon, he was a good administrator, good at solving problems and negotiating with others. These skills were to become instrumental in his survival and the survival of others when he became a prisoner-of-war of the Japanese.

Weary Dunlop was a big man, both in stature and in ability and in terms of his achievements. Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop is the second title in a new series from New Frontier Publishing. The first was about Dame Nellie Melba, and there are more titles on the way. Each introduces an iconic Australian and their life both before and after they became well known. Chapter headings outline stages in his life and a timeline gives an ‘at-a-glance’ summary of his life. Most openings feature a colour image. This is an accessible introduction to the life of a fascinating Australian. It covers his childhood, education, marriage, war experience and post-war life. A well-rounded summary of a remarkable man. Recommended for mid-primary readers.

Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop, Hazel Edwards ill Pat Reynolds
New Frontier Publishing 2011

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author