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The Gommock tells of the discovery and development of the rich Burra Burra copper mine in South Australia, during the 1830s. The story is told through the eyes of Effie, a delightful little Cornish girl, whose father is The Gommock, a Cornish word for ‘fool’. Effie’s mother calls him that at every opportunity as he carts his family half way across the world from the tin mines of Cornwall, England, to the Australian outback, driven by his passion for mining precious metals - a passion that destroys the family but finally saves him.
Marie Jackman takes us through Effie’s childhood adventures in the cave that serves as the family home once they reach the mine. Effie helps her mother to bear and mind her smaller brothers and sisters; she survives a terrifying flash flood, witnesses the struggles between the miners and the mine managers and - as she grows into a woman - falls in love with Harry, a clerk in the mine office.
Ms. Jackman has painted a convincing portrait of a brave, intelligent child, struggling to lead a normal life in unfamiliar surroundings. By telling the mine’s history through the lives of the people who worked it, she has brought a forgotten era back to life in the most satisfying way, especially for readers with an interest in Australian history. I thoroughly enjoyed The Gommock and think it would make excellent material for a TV mini series,