Online Catalogue last updated 12th of December 2016
In her fifth book Wool on the Water, Maureen Jones brings to life paddle steamer Captain Henry Theisz and his time on the busy 19th century water way the Murray Darling river system. She also tells the reader with insight how residents of Echuca, at the time the largest inland port in the country, were part of the shipping trade and progressively had to handle its decline as rail transport came to the fore.
In her earlier book, Naming the Women, Maureen wove the stories of women from four generations of the Morgan family in Van Diemen's Land into a story that told of the integration of a convict family into every level of Australian society. As with Naming the Women, this book had its beginning with Maureen's interest in her own family's history. Captain Theisz was her grandmother's father and as the author pursued her storytelling she developed great skill in consulting a wide range of resources which have shown both the progress of individual family members and also importantly the times and conditions in which they lived. This book tells a wider story but through the lives and foibles of Captain Theisz, the wool traders of Echuca and Theisz's brother in law George Hansen, a blacksmith whose trade was at the heart of life in the town and on the river.
There have been several books written about paddle steamers on the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Darling Rivers and something of the characters involved in the trade. This book puts the reader on the river. We make the journey with Captain Theisz to Hay. We learn that travel on the river in all its different moods was not always easy but exciting and challenging when the river was high and depressing when in drought. As well the book shows the struggle that boat owners and captains such as Theisz had with wool traders who experienced their own changes in the changing times of the late 19th century.
Code No. 017260, 74 pages, ISBN 9780980807929, $33.00