THE ACT OF SELECTION.
Hi Anna Kathryn, lovely to be here with you. Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog.
Today I would like to write about how the Act of Selection ties in with Frontier Wife, my novel from The Wild Rose Press.
I am happy to say that Frontier Wife is now one of my most successful novels. It has received some great reviews and was chosen as Best Historical Romance at Readers Favourite 2010. Very thrilling, as I also got the chance to travel to
for the Awards banquet. But in the beginning Frontier Wife had a very bad start in life. The first publisher who took my baby on board, unfortunately, went out of business. To say that was gut-wrenching is an understatement. It was picked up by a second publisher and sadly that didn’t pan out either. Perseverance is my second name, so I tried it with a third publisher, The Wild Rose Press, and well, let’s say the rest is history. Las Vegas
In the colony of
the 1860 Land Act allowed free selection of crown land. This included land already occupied by the squatters, (wealthy land owners) who had managed to circumvent the law for years. Victoria
The Act allowed selectors access to the squatters’ land, and they could purchase between 40 and 320 acres of crown land, but after that, the authorities left them to fend for themselves. Not an easy task against the wealthy, often ruthless squatters who were incensed at what they thought was theft of their land.
The 1861 Act of Selection, which is similar to the U.S. Homested Act was intended to encourage closer settlement, based on intensive agriculture. Selectors often came into conflict with squatters, who already occupied land and had often managed to circumvent the law to keep it.
And the bitterness ran deep for many years, sometimes erupting into violence.
On Our Selection by Steele Rudd (a pseudonym for Arthur Hoey Davis 14.11.1868 – 11.10.35), was his best known work. He based it on his father’s experience as a selector. It started out as just one chapter published in December 1895 in The Bulletin newspaper and eventually became the basis for Dad and Dave, a popular radio series which ran in
from 1932 – 1952. Australia
Henry Lawson 1867 – 1922, was born on the gold fields of
. Many believed him to be the first poet to capture the Australian way of life. After a childhood ear infection, he was totally deaf by the age of 14, and he grew up to be bitter about his poverty and ill-fortune. New South Wales
In 1888 The Bulletin started publishing his stories and poems.
Henry Lawson wrote about the bitterness between the squatters and selectors, in his memorable poem. The Fire At Ross’Farm.
Robert Black, the son of the squatter, loved Jenny Ross the daughter of the selector.
When Robert tells his father about the fire threatening the Ross farm, his father said, and I quote these couple of lines from Henry Lawson’s poem
Then let it burn the squatter said, I’d like to see it doneI’d bless the fire if it would clear selectors from the run (run is an early Australian name for a ranch).
These two lines of poetry depict the bitterness and antagonism between the two parties. So, using this as my background I wrote my novel Frontier Wife.
FRONTIER WIFEOnly in the new world can a highborn young Englishwoman and a tough frontier man, ignite the passion that will fulfil their hopes and dreams in ways they never imagined possible.
Tommy Lindsay arrives in colonial
to claim the rundown farm she and her brothers have inherited from their Uncle Henry. Australia
Hidden behind her fragile English rose beauty, beats the heart of a courageous young woman. She will need all this strength to survive the unforgiving heat, and the dangers lurking around every corner. Lost in the bush, capture by a feral mountain family, raging bushfires are nothing, compared to the danger she faces if she gives her heart to Adam Munro.
Adam Munro, a wealthy squatter, has no room in his heart to love a woman. All he ever wanted was a presentable wife who would provide him with heirs. He didn’t need passion in his life, not until he met the beautiful English rose living next door to him.
Tommy’s Uncle Henry selected 80 acres for his farm in the middle of the Munro property. Adam Munro had 40,000 acres, so Frontier Wife is an excellent example of the problems existing with The Act Of Selection.
Of course, not all of these problems had a happily ever after ending like my story. Many selectors and their families struggled on for years with unproductive land and hostile neighbours until finally, they gave up. Many broken in health and financially ruined, packed up their meagre belongings and walked off their property leaving it to the elements or the squatters.
Some selectors did prosper and became wealthy in their own right, but the bitterness felt by the selectors who failed, lingered for years, often into the next generation.
Margaret Tanner is an Australian author who loves delving into the pages of history.Her website is : http://www.margarettanner.com/