Van Velzen, Marianne

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People always asked her if she was ever afraid, living out in the desert alone with all those rough and scruffy men, but Minnie Berrington was not the faint-hearted type and never had been. Being tough came naturally to her, growing up with three brothers and a family that went from riches to ruins.

Only a slip of a girl, Minnie could match any man in stamina, perseverance and strength. She arrived in Coober Pedy when essential supplies still arrived by camel, and water was so scarce no-one washed. Together with the other miners, she braved the heat, the flies and the dust. Every day she waited for that special sound the pick made when it cracked opal.

The first woman to dig her own shafts in the Australian opal fields, Minnie began her working life as a typist in London. But she and her younger brother Victor sought freedom and adventure in the 1920s and found plenty of it in the outback. [Taken from book cover, Allen & Unwin Books]

Comments from BDS Reviewers

"I had expected this book to be a bit tedious. I was totally wrong!"

"The further I got into this book, the more fascinated I became. I felt like I knew this woman, I identified with her, I began to imagine the author was writing this like a letter to me, telling me about this mutual friend, Minnie!"

"I enjoyed this biography and appreciated the extensive research the author had done on the Australian outback and on Minnie's life and family."

"Minnie was so different and admirable and so easy to identify with. The sort of person you would treasure as a friend."

"I think most readers would find this book as delightful and inspiring as I have."

"The author shows good knowledge of Australian history and is interested in women who lived nomadic lives outside of society."

"This is an inspiring story of a feisty pioneering woman who sought freedom and adventure in the outback."



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