River Boy, by Anthony Hill

Nat still couldn’t believe it. Even after three days steaming down the river, he’d wake cramped in his blanket in the dank, narrow prow, thinking he was still on the farm. Only when he’d felt the boat nudging the bank where they’d tied up for the night, did Nat remember. It wasn’t Uncle Silas but a deckhand, Sloppy Joe, snoring beside him.

Nat has always dreamt of working on one of the river boats, but when his chance finally comes, he is surprised how easy it is. A desperate captain offers him work on the paddle steamer Lorelei and soon Nat is one of the crew. But Nat has a secret – he can’t swim. When the boat makes the return journey towing a barge in stormy conditions, Nat’s secret could put his life at risk.

River Boy is a historical novel for primary school readers, set on the Murray River in the 1870s. It is one of eight titles to date in the Making Tracks series from the National Museum of Australia Press, a series of stories inspired by objects from the Museum’s collection.

An exciting read.

River Boy, by Anthony Hill
National Museum of Australia Press, 2006