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

by Alice Thomson

  • ISBN: 9780385497534
  • ISBN10: 0385497539

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

by Alice Thomson

  • List Price: $19.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Publish date: 10/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780385497534
  • ISBN10: 0385497539
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Description: One hundred sixty years ago, a young Englishman named Charles Todd, an orphaned astronomer's assistant, was visiting his guardians in Oxford, telling them of his dream: he wished to go to Adelaide, the most remote of the British colonies, and there use the newly invented telegraph to link Australia with the world. The fact that no person had ever crossed the deadly Australian Outback did not daunt him, but he despaired of finding a woman willing to brave such hardship with him. Suddenly twelve-year-old Alice, who had been hiding behind the chaise longue, piped up: "I shall marry you, Mr. Todd". And seven years later, so she did.

Alice Thomson spins this improbably true 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 entire Australian continent, an astonishing feat involving that peculiar Victorian trait of pluck. Alice, a proper Victorian girl, 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 home in a land of dust, flies, kangaroos, and emu make for a tale both charming and fascinating.

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

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