Thomas Edwards of Beverley
by Mollie Bentley
ISBN 0 85905 076 9, (1985 new), Soft Cover and Hard Cover, 148mm x 210mm, 115 pp, illustrated, HC 290grams, SC 180grams
HC $28.00, SC $22.00 + POST
From the Introduction by W.J. de Burgh
This excellent biography of one of Western Australia's mounted of the last (19th) century is an important addition to the overall view of our pioneering history. Rather than dwell on all the things that were done that should not have been done, and all the things that were not done that should have been done, Mollie Bentley has told the story as it was.
Good, bad and in between are treated with impartial thought and one can detect a scarcely suppressed sense of humour bubbling beneath the surface of her writing.
Particularly pleasing is the treatment of the Aboriginal people as individuals, widely differing in character and ability even as the colonists were. Full credit is given to the friendly treatment that many settlers gave to them, while not glossing over the fact that there were some cases of harshness and brutality.
The strict class distinctions of the day have their place in the story, as does the stringent financial hardship and lack of colonial funds. This led to the rearing of a generation of survivors and innovators who built a nation out of a wilderness in a century. How this was done is clearly illustrated in this story, and the part the country police played in this battle for existence against odds which led to all but the stout of heart fleeing from our shores, is told with great insight.
This is a social history of great merit as well as being a most interesting story for the general reader.