This slender volume is the third in the Transport, Trade and Travel in Australia series. It is very reader
friendly, with beautifully drawn colour illustrations, clear font, plenty of white space, and a conversational
tone which packs a surprisingly heavy load of information. Nicholson's authorial voice tells truths in a non-
judgmental tone, and leads us seamlessly through a balanced, wide ranging account of Australian history
since European settlement. The opening passage sets up a scenario of a bullock team being harnessed, all of
the bullocks have interesting names and personalities, and the way into the book is made smooth by these
interesting personalities; Skaggle, Tiger, and 'philosopher bullocks', Vassek and Neville. But the book is not
just about entertainment. Painlessly, the reader is provided with an array of interesting data and facts which
show Australian history as it was, with its mixture of races, religions, and circumstances. There are true
stories and brief vignettes. Like the man who was found crushed or suffocated or starved to death between
transported wool bales; or the story of Captain Murray, who was forced to shoot the cook dead, but was
unable to deter the ship's crew from mutiny.
Nicholson has made new many stories that are known to us, through research into social history, and careful
re-working of the text, so that there are no wasted words.
Written for 9-13 year olds, and should hold their interest through the quality of the writing, the density and
sheer interest of the facts, and the brevity of the text overall.
A bonus for teachers is that an 11 page support document is available to download from the A&U website.
Helen Wilde, SA
John Nicholson has found a formula for success in his series of books about transport, trade and travel in
Australia. Book 3, entitled Wool, Wagons and Clipper Ships has the familiar layout of the previous two
books, with exquisite illustrations that complement the interesting and informative text.
Australian history from 1830-188