All Australians Now
by Willem van Ravenstein
ISBN 978-0-85905-295-5, (2010 new), illustrated, 221pp, 510grams
$35.00 + POST
For the ten-year old Dutch boy who arrived with his migrant parents at Fremantle one intolerably hot day in 1950, Australia was an alien, almost incomprehensible land.
A clear-eyed observer with an outsider’s perspective, the child grew up and was educated in postwar Perth, where he was gradually transformed into an Australian.
The experience was a complex, testing and sometimes confusing process.
Like teenagers everywhere, young Willem asserted his identity in opposition to his parents and their values. As the only child of a disciplinarian father, this was a particularly bitter struggle.
There was, too, a growing awareness that the heart of his family’s life was gnawed by an obscure mystery – something eventually revealed to be a very dark secret indeed.
This wise, lucid coming of age memoir has much to say about Australia as it was then, and how it became what it is now. It is one of those rare, timeless works that shall continue to speak across the generations.