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Harper, 1939 - Aboriginal Australians - 592 pages
4 Reviews
Spanning three generations Capricornia tells the story of Australia's North. It is a story of whites and Aborigines and Asians of chance relationships that can form bonds for life, of dispossession, murder and betrayal. In 1904 the brothers Oscar and Mark Shillingsworth, clad in serge suits and bowler hats, arrive in Port Zodiac on the coast of Capricornia. They are clerks who have come from the South to join the Capricornian Government Service. Oscar prospers and takes to his new life as a gentleman. Mark, however is restless and takes up with old Ned Krater, a trepang fisherman, who tells him tales of the sea and the islands introduces him to drink and boasts of his conquests of Aboriginal women - or 'Black Velvet' as they are called. But it is Mark's son, Norman, whose struggles to find a place in the world, embody the complexities of Capricornia itself.

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User Review  - crashmyparty - LibraryThing

Capricornia is the lengthy, epic tale spanning over generations in what we call 'the top end' (the Northern Territory) of Australia. I'm not even sure where to start. So many characters, so many ... Read full review

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User Review  - nathanhobby - LibraryThing

This novel seems influenced by The Grapes of Wrath; its comparable to Catch 22 with its huge cast and removed, bemused narrator while it seems to have influenced Tim Winton’s colloquial humour and ... Read full review

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About the author (1939)

Xavier Herbert (1901-1984) is considered the elder statesman of Australian literature, best known for his Miles Franklin Award-winning novel Poor Fellow My Country (1975). His first book, Capricornia, was written in London in the early 1930s and was based partly on his own experiences being a Protector of the Aborigines in Darwin. Herbert was a great champion of Aboriginal people, particularly those living in missions in Queensland and the Northern Territory, and was well known for his outspoken views on indigenous issues as well as his talents as a novelist. He is credited in the film AUSTRALIA: "The filmmakers gratefully acknowledge the contribution made by the late Xavier Herbert in chronicling the events of Northern Australia in his novels Capricornia and Poor Fellow My Country."

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