Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Break Away an extract from Place of Many Birds short stories

     When writing about the past, about family, about true events, what does one leave in and what should be kept for posterity? The Break Away is based on a true event which resulted in the death of John Ickeringill in Australia, in 1891. I don't know about his personality, nor that of the others who witnessed the incident, so their characters are fictional.  What I could comment on truthfully was the 1838 Battle of Broken River which forms part of the narrative.

         “Eight men were slaughtered in the skirmish. In revenge, a hundred Aborigines were killed. There were many reprisal killings, a long time ago, nearly fifty years ago. It’s known as the Faithfull Massacre because the Faithfull brothers owned the sheep. Some call it the Battle of Broken River.”

Firelight flickers on the smooth trunks and writhing branches illuminating the ghostly whiteness of the trees in the moonlight. Long ribbons of shedding bark dangle in the soft wind coming off the river. Trees sway in a stealthy dance, like spirits from another world. How long does it take for ghosts to be laid to rest, I wonder. Is fifty years long enough?
“Their bodies are buried out here, but no one knows exactly where,” says Berry, the cool wind at our back and the warm glow of the fire in front.
“They didn’t attack because it was a hunting ground, but because it was ceremonial ground, a kangaroo ground.”

A coroner's inquest was held into the incident involving Ickeringill and his friends who set out one Saturday afternoon on a hunting expedition. 
 Place of Many Birds is available on Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Place-Many-Birds-Jan-Merry/dp/1500608947/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 and http://www.amazon.com.au/Place-Many-Birds-Jan-Merry-ebook/dp/B00BZ4O9MK

Quiggan Brothers store Shepparton 1890s