Gold, Graves and Glory, by Jackie French

For 60,000 years the rest of the world had pretty much left Australia and its Aboriginal nations alone. Then it became a home for Britain’s criminals and poor. Now a con man had found gold and suddenly everyone was heading to Australia: adventurers, revolutionaries, camels…Australia would never be the same.

Gold, Graves and Glory is a humorous yet accurate look at the gold rush days in Australia. Charting the difficulties and hardships faced by the settlers, the impact that they had on the Aboriginal way of life and population, and the development of the colonies. It details the early time of the colony from 1850 through to 1880.

Whilst this is not the first book written on the subject, for children it is certainly the most accessible. The cartoon style illustrations of Peter Sheehan, putting his own funny spin on events, compliments French’s humorous yet honest style which doesn’t gloss over serious events.

This is history which kids can enjoy, even while they are learning plenty about this important part of Australian history. It is the fourth instalment in an eight-part series covering Australian history from prehistoric times to the Centenary of Federation.

Good stuff.

Gold, Graves and Glory, by Jackie French, illustrated by Peter Sheehan
Scholastic Press, 2007