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The Singing Line: Tracking the Australian Adventures of My Intrepid Victorian Ancestors

by Thomson, Alice

  • ISBN: 9780385490597
  • ISBN10: 0385490593

The Singing Line: Tracking the Australian Adventures of My Intrepid Victorian Ancestors

by Thomson, Alice

  • List Price: $23.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books
  • Publish date: 01/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780385490597
  • ISBN10: 0385490593
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Description: One hundred sixty years ago, young Charles Todd, an orphaned astronomer's assistant, was visiting his guardians in Oxford, telling them of his dream: He wished to go to Australia, and there use the newly invented telegraph to link the distant colony with the world. The fact that no person had ever crossed the deadly Outback did not daunt him, but he despaired of finding a woman willing to brave such hardship with him. Suddenly twelve-year-old Alice, hidden behind the chaise longue, piped up: "I shall marry you, Mr. Todd". And seven years later, so she did.

Alice Thomson spins the fascinating tale of her great-great-grandparents' adventures Down Under with wit and grace. Charles Todd did, in fact, succeed in laying the telegraph wire, the "singing line", across the Australian continent, an astonishing feat involving that peculiar Victorian virtue of pluck. Alice, from a comfortable home, suddenly had to adapt to the life of a frontier wife in the oddest and most remote corner of the British Empire. Charles's implacable derring-do -- his expeditions and many near-disasters -- and Alice's equally brave attempts to re-create a proper British life in a land of dust, flies, kangaroos, and emus make for a tale both charming and exciting.

In tracing the route of Charles's grand expedition, author Alice Thomson and her bemused husband, Edward, engage in some remarkable adventures of their own, and along the way provide the reader with the fascinating history of early Australia and an indelible portrait of the complex nation it has become.

For fans of Australian like The Fatal Shore and A Town Called Alice (named after Alice Todd), "The Singing Line" will be indispensable. For lovers of thetravel essay from Chatwin to Mayle, the book will be a delight.

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