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The Crow Eaters: A journey through South Australia

All South Australians should read this book which is a big call, but the author has done what the best travel writers do, and that is, looked at familiar places, with different perspectives. He had no intention of writing a book but was inspired by a man who wrote about his bedroom. He found the most remote details and tiny observations to describe. Ben has done more than that.

In an interesting style, he has looked at local places. He has included geology (South East), Aboriginal perspectives, and inciteful assumptions from his conversations. His intent was to cover only certain parts of the state, but, in depth.

Some of the places he writes about are Coober Pedy, Maralinga, Mount Gambier, Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island. In each place he visits, we are given a brief history of the interesting facts, and past times.

On the way to Mount Gambier, Ben comes across Chinaman’s Well. It was here that thousands of Chinese landed to avoid the tax that the Victorian Government placed on those migrants wishing to work the goldfields. The number of Chinese passing through the town was staggering and there is really no acknowledgement of this massive migration.

When Ben first moved into his house at Littlehampton in the Adelaide Hills, he found shards of clay in his garden. It was from a time when there was a brick works operating alongside Littlehampton bricks. This was another reason he felt that he had to unearth more stories of South Australia and give his stories in return.

With his broad approach to a district, the writer would often refer to another author, so we find stories of Mark Twain visiting Goolwa. Yes, it’s true. The American had invested unwisely and so he travelled the colonies on a speaking tour to recoup his losses.

After visiting many places on the South Australian map, the author decides that a suitable end for his book would be a closer look at the city of Adelaide and how the Kaurna people fitted into the history. He begins his trail at Victoria Drive where a memorial is built to honour those who served.

In the first world War, 1000 Indigenous people enlisted. Only 1 received access to soldier settlement land later. He follows the trail and discovers art works and a visual history painted on tiles from the Kaurna people. Along the Torrens River bank there are also acknowledgements to the first people here and their lifestyle.

This is terrific reading as a local and as a tourist or visitor each chapter could guide you to an intimate understanding of a region.


AuthorBen Stubbs
PublisherNew South Publications
DistributorNew South Books
ReleasedAugust 2019