Harry Heathcote of Gangoil
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Introduction by P D Edwards
London, Sampson Low, 1874.
Originally published in The Graphic, Christmas number, Dec. 25, 1873
Harry Heathcote is a strong-willed, headstrong young man of twenty-four, a ‘squatter’ running a sheep station of 120,000 acres at Gangoil in Queensland, deep in the Australian bush. He has a young wife Mary, and has also brought her elder unmarried sister Kate Daly to live with them.
Harry has lost a strip of land between his station and the river – quite legitimately – , to a ‘free selector’ called Giles Medlicot who has used it to construct a sugar plantation and mill. Because of this, relations are frosty between the two men. Harry’s imperiousness has made him enemies, amongst them a disreputable family of neighbouring cattle farmers, the Brownbies.
On Christmas Eve, two of Harry’s disgruntled former employees – with the aid of the Brownbies – deliberately start a fire on his land. Harry only has his aboriginal hand Jacko to help him avert disaster for the station, until Giles Medlicot lends his support…