Charles Dickens' Australia: Selected Essays from Household Words 1850-1859

Book Three: Frontier Stories

Charles Dickens and compiled by Margaret Mendelawitz

Regular price $36.95 Sale

Format: paperback
340 pages
ISBN: 9781920898694

Publication: 03 May 2011

Publisher: Sydney University Press

Charles Dickens is little celebrated as a journalist, yet his career spanned nearly 40 years. Starting as a court reporter, parliamentary newspaper columnist and theatre critic, he developed an instinct for injustice, humbug and charade. For 20 years he edited his own weekly journal, Household Words, later known as All the Year Round, publishing articles and stories designed to be interesting, entertaining and educational.

Dickens had a keen interest in Australia and fortuitously began publishing the periodical at a transitional moment, just before the heady days of the 1850s gold rush set the world ablaze. The discovery of gold drove a period of mass immigration and expansion into the hinterlands, and caused radical economic and social changes in an emerging nation.

Of the nearly 3,000 articles published in Household Words, some 100 related to Australia and have been collected in this anthology. Dickens saw Australia as offering opportunities for England's poor and downtrodden to make a new start and a brighter future for themselves; this optimism is reflected in many of the articles.

The stories have been grouped into five volumes: Convict Stories, Immigration, Frontier Stories, Mining and Gold and Maritime Conditions.

This volume contains stories of the triumphs and failures associated with opening up new country in the Australian bush. There are descriptions of cattle drives and bullock wagons, and poignant stories of lost settlers and children – so often found through the uncanny abilities of Aboriginal trackers. There are tales of floods and fire, encounters with bushrangers and Aborigines, interspersed with vignettes of everyday life.

Charles Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era.

Margaret Mendelawitz is a graduate in history and anthropology from the University of Western Australia. She currently works as a mediator.


  1. The old and new squatter: the old squatter
  2. The old and new squatter: the new squatter
  3. Chip: a colonial patriot
  4. The landlord
  5. Christmas day in the bush
  6. An Australian ploughman’s story
  7. Father Gabriel; or, the fortunes of a farmer
  8. Father Gabriel’s story
  9. We, and our man Tom
  10. An exploring adventure
  11. Two letters from Australia
  12. The land-shark
  13. Gentlemen and bullocks
  14. Tracks in the bush
  15. Coo-ee!
  16. Little bell
  17. Chip: a bush fire in Australia
  18. The bush-fire extinguisher
  19. Black Thursday
  20. The waters are out
  21. Two-handed Dick the stockman: an adventure in the bush
  22. Going to the dogs
  23. Australian Jim Walker
  24. Friends in Australia
  25. Fisher’s ghost
  26. The savage muse

Contributors to Household Words

‘It is a genuinely fascinating piece of Australiana that has been edited and collated by Margaret Mendelawitz. Many pieces demonstrate Dickens’ enduring commitment to social change and moral uplift.’

Sydney Morning Herald, 2–3 July 2011


Format: paperback
Size: 210 × 148 × 25 mm
340 pages
12 b&w illustrations
Copyright: © 2011
ISBN: 9781920898694
Publication: 03 May 2011