East of Suez and North of Sydney: Thomas Keneally's A River Town
It is an established point of commentary that Australia had certain imaginative links with India, courtesy of the British Empire spreading its culture and administrative style across the globe. There is Alfred Deakin's book on his enquiry into Indian irrigation s§stems resulting in his invitation to two Canadian brothers with Californian experience to start irrigation settlements on the Murray River around what is now the city of Mildura. There are Ethel Anderson's stories of colonial life in India arising from her marriage to a British military officer stationed across the north of the subcontinent in the first half of the twentieth century. And there are the tales ofIndian immigration to Australia before the imposition of the White Australia Policy that led to Mena Abdullah's tales of growing up on a farm in northern New South Wales with a Muslim father and a Hindu mother. Then there is the otherwise rollicking Aussie yarn of young women dressed as men earning their living by seasonal labour on vegetable farms in Victoria (Eve Langley's The Pea Pickers) which features their friendship with Punjabi farmers settled there after the goldrush era.