Sunburnt Country is an outstanding selection of autobiographical stories and short fiction about Australia and Australians. From childhood, through adolescence, work and marriage, to old age, these stories provide a lively, at times moving, sometimes funny, glimpse into many aspects of life in Australia.
Facing not onlt the astounding courage they displayed amid death and chaos but also on the triumphs and pain of their personal lives, Susanna reveals how these 11 Australian women were as influential and heroic in civil life as they were in war.
"You will never complain about your life again"
It's been 10 months since Jack died, and Sandra, a tightly wound academic, copes with her grief by immersing herself in the history of textiles. When she and Martha, a gifted knitter, meet over an unconscious body on the footpath, the unlikely threads of their lives tangle into each other. Sandra invites Martha to join her in a professional collaboration, but what begins as a working relationship becomes something deeply personal.
At 18 Liz is separated from her first true love. Across the miles she dreams of the day he will return to marry her, but fate has other plans and love is lost. Thirty-seven years later, she picks up the telephone to hear a voice from the past that still has the power to stop her in her tracks. This is an extraordinary, true story of love lost, and love found. Crossing the continents and decades it is a testament to the power of the passion and the triumph of the heart.
When Grace married Captain Leo Waterhouse in Australia in 1943, they were young, in love - and at war. Like many other young men and women, they were ready, willing and able to put the war effort first. They never seriously doubted that they would come through unscathed. But Leo never returned from a commando mission masterminded by his own hero figure, an eccentric and charismatic man who inspired total loyalty from those under his command.
The long idyllic summer of Jan Ruff-O'Herne's childhood in Dutch colonial Indonesia ended in 1942 with the Japanese invasion of Java. She was interned in Ambarawa Prison Camp, along with her mother and two younger sisters. In February 1944, when Jan was 21, her life was torn apart. Along with nine other young women, all of them virgins, she was plucked from the camp and her family, and enslaved into prostitution by the Japanese Imperial Army.
In the 1890s, when a woman's role was seen as marrying well and raising a family, Daisy Bates reinvented herself from humble governess to heiress-traveller and 'woman of science'. She would become one of the best-known and most controversial ethnologists in history, and one of the first people to put Aboriginal culture on the map.
In her flat above Drylands' newsagency, Janet Deakin is writing a book for the world's last reader. Little has changed her in 50 years, except for the coming of cable TV. Loneliness is almost a religion, and still everyone knows your business. But the town is being outmanoeuvered by drought and begins to empty, pouring itself out like water into sand.
Maggie Tabberer is one of Australia's most photographed, most talked about and most loved personalities. Here she tells of her journey from a childhood in suburban Adelaide to the peak of the Australian fashion industry, a journey of stunning professional achievements matched by a rich and often tempestuous personal life. For the first time Maggie reveals the highs and lows of her first marriage when she was just a teenager, her on-again off-again romance with Ettore Prossimo, and more.
In 1943, when Grace and Leo Waterhouse married in Australia, they were part of a young generation ready to sacrifice themselves to win the war, while being confident they would survive. Sixty years on, as Grace recounts what happened to her doomed hero, she can say what she suspected then: that for many men, bravery is its own end.