Seven Little Australians was published in 1894 but first came to my attention in the mid 1970’s thanks to a wonderful 10 part tv series on the ABC. I was only about 8 or 9 at the time but I was blown away by the story. After the tear-jerker tenth episode ending, I sat down for my first reading of the book.
Seven Little Australians is one of the few Australian books that has never been out of print. And the only Australian book to have been in continuous print for over 100 years.
It is set in suburban Sydney in an area called Lindfield. In the 1890’s this area was completely rural. Now it is in the middle of the northern suburbs area of Woodlands, Killara.
The story follows Judy and her 6 siblings and step-siblings.
They’re an unruly bunch, allowed to run wild by a too distant father and a too young step-mother. They play pranks, argue and tell tales on each other. They go to Luna Park for an outing and have picnics. They sneak into your heart and take up life long residence there!
The young actress who played Judy in the ABC series is Jennifer Cluff.
Years later I moved to Mudgee to take up a teaching position and learnt that Jennifer was a Mudgee girl herself. I was delighted to learn that one of my best friends had gone to school with her and her sisters and that I had been teaching a number of her nieces and nephews. It gave Judy’s story another lease of life to me.
But the old Turner home is another matter.
Instead of becoming a national cultural & heritage centre celebrating the life and times of the author and the book it has been allowed to wallow in uncertainty awaiting a philanthropic miracle.
To say that I can feel a visit to both park and house coming on is an understatement!