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Marian Turnbull

In Grade 5 social studies we ‘did’ Australia. After Captain Cook and the first fleet and settlement, and a couple of lessons spent drawing Aboriginal mia-mias and weaponry came the explorers. Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson, Hume and Hovell, Major Mitchell, Burke and Wills Captain Sturt, and Edward John Eyre … Their names and achievements were committed to memory as surely as the three times table. But as our sticky hands traced maps from our atlases onto lunch wrap paper and into our exercise books – there to be outlined in accident-prone Indian ink, and the dotted lines of exploration marked – the explorers somehow failed to grasp our imaginations. We experienced little sympathy with their effort or their suffering, and only a mechanical recognition of the importance of their discoveries.

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Archimedes and the Seagle by David Ireland & Jane Austen in Australia by Barbara Ker Wilson

October 1984, no. 65

‘I wrote this book to show what dogs can do’, writes Archimedes the red setter in the preface to his book, and what follows are the experiences, observations, and reflections of a dog both ordinary and extraordinary. Archimedes’ physical life is constrained by his ‘employment’ with the Guests, an average Sydney suburban family – father, mother, and three children. He is taken for walks – the dog laws make unaccompanied walks too dangerous, he leaves his ‘messages’ in appropriate places, he knows the electricity poles intimately, and the dogs in his territory, Lazy Bill, Princess, Old Sorrowful Eyes, and Victor the bulldog.

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This is an attractive book with its colourful dust jacket, clear type and layout, and delicate line drawings of individual herbs. The body of the book is an alphabetically arranged treatment of forty-two herbs, giving growing requirements, history, how to harvest and store and uses in medicine, toiletry and cooking. The recipes are original and include such interesting combinations as Pork au Santolina (which I tried and found worthy of a dinner party), and Lavender Beef.

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