Cornish pioneer miners to Australia


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Real events behind a terrific story

The extraordinary strength and resilience of a woman protecting her family

Brilliant evocation of the huge journey from Cornwall to Australia in the 1850s

New introduction by Professor Philip Payton



When the potato blight hits Cornwall in 1847, Jane Dunstan (born in Wendron in 1814) rescues her large family. She takes a ‘free passage’ to migrate to South Australia with their seven children aged from one to twelve in the cramped steerage quarters of a ship. Then follows a 100-mile journey by bullock wagon to Burra’s copper mines and finally by a 350-mile trek to the goldfields of Victoria. Jane has to adapt to living in the bush, foraging for bush tucker and dealing with pests and hazards along the way. On arriving at the gold diggings Jane is horrified by what she sees but ultimately she remarries, has three more children, bringing her total issue to eleven, and eventually finds a measure of peace – a story of heroic suffering, hope and survival.

A Different Earth is based on the experiences of the author’s great-great grandparents, Richard and Jane Dunstan.

Max C.S. Beck was raised in a country hotel where his father was licensee. He worked as a labourer on the Snowy Mountains scheme and was a truck driver in the Mallee. He graduated from Monash University with the degrees of Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Jurisprudence. He practised as a barrister and solicitor for 22 years and was appointed a Magistrate and Coroner for the state of Victoria where he served on the bench for 15 years. As a lawyer, much of this time was devoted to work as a defence counsel in country Magistrate and County Courts.

“…a remarkable reading of the emigrant-settler experience through feminine eyes – those of Jane Dunstan (later Rodda), born in Wendron, Cornwall, in 1814. It is no accident that Max Beck has dedicated his book ‘to all the strong women of this world’, for the Jane Dunstan who emerges in this story – and again, it is a tale based on fact – is one of stoicism, courage, and ultimately the triumph of the human (or at least feminine) spirit over adversity. Demonstrating an assured mastery of the historical context Max Beck has clearly read widely and carefully.”

From Professor Philip Payton’s Introduction

RRP: £16.99

Publication: March 2016, Paperback, 380 pages, 234 x 156 mm, (9 x 6 ins)

ISBN 978-1-904880-34-9

BUY NOW to purchase ‘A Different Earth’ directly from our partners, Wordery.