A recent visitor to the Little Darwin cluttered den is a well read Englishman who has spent time in China and now lives in Queensland. While discussing books , he said he has a penchant for early Readers for Queensland schools , issued by the Department of Education , stuffed with stories from British history and literature and very little Australian content .
It just so happened that we had a number of 1960s Readers , one ex Dalby State School , stamped July 10 1968, which were fortunately located without much trouble , and we leafed through them .
Our delighted visitor laughed , pointed out in a 1960 volume stories relating to buying a cow in France , Robert Browning's Home Thoughts from Abroad , How Hereward Interviewed the King ,The Unknown (British ) Warrior , The Canadian Boat song by Thomas Moore , An Adventure on Salisbury Plain , two Dickens stories -The Cratchits ' Dinner Party and Mr Winkle on Skates , (British) Heroes of the (Indian ) Mutiny , Waterloo , How England Held the Lists at Bordeaux, The Conqueror of Smallpox, A Fight with Pirates ....
Surprise, surprise -The Quiet Stockman , from We of the Never Never by Mrs Aeneas Gunn, described as one of the finest Australian stories , an account of one year, 1902, in the life of bush folk in the "out back "of the Northern Territory . Another Australian item was Henry Kendall's The Last of His Tribe , the poet described as one of Australia's greatest, brought up and educated in the bush , generally regarded as the " sweetest of Australia's singers" and like Wordsworth , a poet of nature .
A 1967 edition at least opened with a poem , The Australian , by Roderic Quinn , which had an associated frontispiece of a man ploughing a field, the illustration used in other editions , and Henry Lawson and his dog got a run , as did Victor J. Daley with A-Roving .