Tuesday, 20 August 2013

TT - The Dig Tree

The Dig Tree
  • Format:  Paperback
  • Number of Pages:384 pages
  • Publisher:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Publication Date:06 January 2003
  • ISBN 10:0747562989
  • ISBN 13:9780747562986
  • Author Sarah Murgatroyd ( 1969 - 2002)
  • Illustrator
Last month I left on a trip to see the Outback of Australia.  Unfortunately things did not go as planned (I will share about that another day).  One of the highlights of this trip however was listening to the audio book of this particular book.

For any family studying Australian History I would say this is one of the must have's on your shelf.  Sarah Murgatroyd has done a phenomenal job of correlating historical fact in a story format.  She has expertly woven historical documents, letters, news paper clippings, political events and characters of the day. Sarah's vivid retelling of the events of this famous historical misadventure is a feat unsurpassed in the telling of Australia's history.   For anyone interested in the story of crossing the center of the great Australian continent this is the book for you. A definite must read for any avid history buff or immigrant wanting a better understanding of Australian culture and history.

The thing I enjoyed about this book is the way that each character is introduced.  I loved the historical back ground of each character it puts their role and choices they make in context.  I also enjoyed that she has included South Australia's race to the north of the continent, alongside Burke and Wills expedition you will follow the journey of John Mcdouall Stuart .   

Book Depository's Description

In 1860, Australia remained the truly dark continent. Although there were European settlements in its south, much of the north remained unknown and dangerous. But things were changing. On 20th August, 1860, The Victorian Exploring Expedition left Melbourne to make the journey into the Gulf of Carpentaria in the northern coast. The expedition was headed by an Irish policeman called Robert O' Hara Burke - a charmer, gambler, and a man infamous for taking long baths in his back garden. Burke and his team of eighteen men made a confident start. After leaving most of the group behind in Cooper Creek (in central Australia), three of the party, including Burke, reached the Carpentaria. They were the first ever to do so. But the journey back was riddled with mishap and bad luck. By the time the three had returned to Cooper Creek, exhausted and starving, they discovered that the rest of the party had retreated, leaving behind only a carved message on a coolibah tree. The "Dig Tree" is the tale of this tragic expedition. Sarah Murgatroyd brings the story vividly alive - the political events in the background, the colourful characters, the spectacular and, often, unforgiving landscape, and the awful desperation of the final days. It is an intelligent, evocative and above all, utterly gripping book.

Every bed of Roses

 Welcome to Tuesdays Treasures.  I started these posts as a way of sharing great books in honour of my friend in New Zealand who would arrive with the treasures she had unearthed at her weekly trip to the library!

There are so many wonderful books out there hiding on shelves so I invite you to blog about a book on your shelf, one you're reading or one you found at the library. Grab the button for your post and add a link to your post below. I would love to read about your treasures. 


  1. Read about this period of history recently, so terribly tragic and needless.

    1. Erin I agree with you. :'(

      As an immigrant I have a special interest in discovering Australia's history. The Burke and Wills expedition is often highly spoken of so I was particularly interested in it.

      It is the saddest historical story I have ever 'read' The thing I enjoyed the most about this book is how she gives you the historical back ground of each and every character from their birth up to the point of them joining the expedition.

      It's beautifully written and well worth any teen reading. There is so much they can learn from the choices made in this book.


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