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Salt Creek is a real place in South Australia and some of the characters who appear on Treloar’s novel are historical figures. The story however, is fiction.
Set between 1855-1875 the story follows the lives of early Australian settlers, the Finch family – their misfortunes and fascinating times in the remote and harsh landscape of Salt Creek.
European attempts at farming destroy the natural habitat of the first inhabitants – the Ngarrindjeri. The social conscience of these early Australian settlers is soon taken over by the stronger desire to survive in their own terms.
The narrator, Hester Finch, tells the story as a series of flashbacks after her return to England, where despite everything she had to endure at Salt D=Creek, she misses the beauty if the landscape and the people.
The reader feels sorry for the main character Joe, from the opening page of this novel.
Joe is 11 when his Mum and her ‘new boyfriend’ decide to go to Spain for a week’s holiday and leave him hime alone. But this is no Macauley Calkin movie! Joe is bullied at school mercilessly by a group who are after his money. He looks unkempt and dirty, as he’s not been left enough money to keeo the hot water topped up. His food supplies soon run out and when one week stretches to more, he has to ask for help from his neighbour’s grandaughter Asha.
Very ‘English’ in setting and atmosphere, but an engaging read,