Billabong's Daughter, by Mary Grant Bruce

Reviewed by Tash Hughes

Billabong’s Daughteris the eighth in a series of fifteen books about Norah Linton and her family on their station, Billabong. The series was very popular with girls as they were printed, and has touched generations of Australians and others.

Billabong is an isolated cattle station in Northern Victoria in the early 1900s. Having never known her Mother, Norah lives with her Father, David, elder brother, Jim, and adopted brother, Wally.

Norah and the boys are now young adults, newly returned to Australia from World War I. They have settled back into farm life and the local community. New chums, Bob and Tommy Rainham, have found a farm close to Billabong and are rapidly learning about life in Australia, greatly aided by the Linton family.

An on-the-run thief in the district, who finds Tommy alone at her home, excites the township of Cunjee. Eventually, Jim and the others discover the man, struggling to survive in the hills, and they take pity on him.

Norah and Tommy befriend an Irish woman and her daughter when their horse runs off with them. Later, they care for the girl whilst her mother is in hospital. Norah reflects on her own lack of Mother and enjoys playing a nurturing role towards the child.

A lone bull confronts Norah, but is driven off by a furious Wally who keeps the episode secret from Jim. Wally keeping things quiet is unusual and Jim finds this behaviour puzzling until Wally admits his feelings for Norah are more than brotherly. Feeling he has betrayed the Lintons, Wally returns to Queensland upon his brother’s death and doesn’t plan to return.

Again, Bruce has written a pleasant story of characters who are moral and generous. It tells of simpler times and avoids covering adult subjects in depth.

Billabong’s Daughter, by Mary Grant Bruce
Ward, Lock & Co, 1924