golden_land_of_silence_coverGolden Land of Silence

A Tale of the Kimberleys

by A.O Neville

ISBN 978-0-85905-479-9, (N, 2010), 181pp, 320grams

$30.00 + POST

This novel, set in the 1930s in the far north Kimberley region of Western Australia, not only is a story of enduring love and revenge, both European and Aboriginal, but a portrayal of life on a remote cattle station where access and transport were both limited to slow. Characters are varied, including the worthy station manager and his beautiful daughter as well as employees needed for the day to day running of the station: storekeeper, stockmen, Aboriginal ‘boys.’

Perhaps the most outstanding aspects of this novel are the descriptions of the scenery. The author knew and loved the Kimberley and showed his affection in his detailed observation of the fauna and flora: “….Lily Springs where there was a beautiful pool of clear spring water. In the centre of this grew a profusion of white, mauve and yellow water lilies, set like coloured stars in a sky of limpid blue. Serried ranks of white stemmed ti trees growing down to the water’s edge created splashes of light and shade upon the placid surface of the pool and afforded harbourage for hundreds of gaily coloured finches, parakeets and other birds intent on quenching their thirst or pursuing the abounding insect life.”

What is particularly notable is the author’s depiction of the Aboriginals, showing his understanding of their beliefs, his wish to maintain the integrity of the race and, through kindly treatment and education, improving the lot of Australia’s indigenous people.

As Paul Sheehan of the Sydney Morning Herald wrote: ‘what would be obvious to anyone who read this work, that they could never accuse A.O. Neville of wanting to obliterate the Aborigines by assimilating them out of existence. Here is more proof that this always was a nonsense.’