Birrong Books is a division of Boyer Educational Resources.
Birrong Books
'Birrong' means star in the language of the Aboriginal people living around Sydney Harbour when Europeans arrived.
We chose the name for our business because our aim is to bring stellar Australian stories to the world.

'Across Great Divides: True Stories of Life at Sydney Cove'

Read a review from www.librarything.com    Review link >>
'A very easy to read account of the arrival of the First Fleet into Sydney Harbour in 1788. Historical figures become personalities in a true, facinating story about the establishment of the colony in NSW, under the command of Capt. Arthur Philip. Excepts from diaries of the time are interspersed throughout the narrative giving the reader an insight into not just the facts, but also the feelings of both the settlers and also the natives, confronting monumental changes in their lives.I thoroughly enjoyed Susan E Boyer's book "Across Great Divides' and would recommend it to young readers, teachers and anyone interested in the early history of Sydney since the white man arrived.'

Read more feedback about 'Across Great Divides: True Stories of Life at Sydney Cove' from readers and attendees at author events. >>

What is 'Across Great Divides - true stories of life at Sydney Cove' about?
Susan Boyer brings to life the diverse personal experiences of people living in and around Australia's first colony. It demonstrates the varied reactions of participants to their unique situation. It shows the situations of convict women, such as Esther Abrahams and Ann Inett and their relationships with military men. It relates the experiences of convict men like James Ruse, Henry Kable, William Bryant and others who saw and seized the possibilities of their new position. Some succeeded beyond their imagination; some failed disastrously

The story also voices the dilemmas faced by Aboriginal people who were challenged by the unexpected arrival of a completely alien race of white people to their land: Bennelong and his 'difficult to ignore' wife, Barangaroo, dealt with their new circumstances in a way they felt would best benefit themselves and their people. On the other hand, the young warrior Pemulwuy, had his own ideas about how the white invaders should be confronted. Boorong and Nanberry, two native children taken separately into the homes of white settlers in the aftermath of a devastating epidemic, went on to have fickle yet enduring relationships with their white guardians.

The stories within 'Across Great Divides - true stories of life at Sydney Cove' give the varied perspectives of military men who had volunteered for a 'tour of duty' in the remote colony. Marine officers Watkin Tench, William Dawes, George Johnston, Philip Gidley King, and Captain John Hunter have left valuable links to those past times through their diaries, letters and journals. Arthur Phillip, the colony's first governor, also wrote letters which give us insight into the dilemmas plaguing his mind. You read of his many challenges, their impact on him and his innovative ways of negotiating them. The stories are based on the words of those who lived them, being taken from the journals of the military and civil officers, convict letters, official dispatches and (British) newspapers of the day.