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- author Jackie French

Friday 25 October 2013

Children's Week: The Coolest People in Australian History


We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with or about kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

 I recently had the pleasure of going on virtual tour with my new junior faction historical novel, Caroline Chisholm: The Emigrant's Friend. As part of my journey, I stopped at the glorious Soup Blog, where clever kids and reading kids tend to go, and asked this question:

Who are your top 5 coolest people in Australian history?

I was astonished at the results. Expecting Ned Kelly x 5, these kids totally impressed me with lists of both well-known people (and some Ned Kellys--I also nominated him!) and people I had never even heard of. They also listed many literary people, and I loved their responses so much, I just had to share them with you during Children's Week.

You can see the original post on Soup Blog here, including my top 5. And if you click on the poster above, you can see the full Caroline Blog Tour.

Celine, 11

I like your choice of cool people in history; one of your coolest people in your list is in mine as well. Here’s my list:

1. Mary Haydock
Mary Haydock ran away from the house where she was in service at the age of 13, disguised as a boy. She was caught stealing a horse and was sent to seven years transportation. When she was a convict, she married a free settler and businessman Thomas Reibey. Thomas died in 1811. Mary expanded many businesses, raised her family, and became extremely rich and did many charitable works. Her portrait is on the twenty-dollar note.

2. Ned Kelly
Ned Kelly is one of those people who some think is a villain and some think is a hero. I personally thought that Ned Kelly was a villain, but after I went into further research about Ned Kelly, I changed my mind. He’s cool!

3. John Simpson Kirkpatrick
Simpson was an ordinary boy who at the age of 21, signed up to go to war. He found a donkey, and used him to help carry wounded soldiers back to the hospital. John and Duffy (his donkey), saved many lives and was beginning to be known to lots of the enemies, and they were beginning to be angry. One day, a Turkish soldier sneaked up on John and shot him. Duffy still continued to take the wounded soldier to the hospital because he had already memorised the path. This made not only John Simpson Kirkpatrick a hero, but his donkey as well.

4. Andrew Barton Paterson
Andrew Barton Paterson (Banjo Paterson) wrote the words to the famous song “Waltzing Matilda”. I think he is one of the coolest people in history because he wrote about what people were doing in the rural areas of the country that he loved.

5. Jandamarra
Jandamarra was friends with an Englishmen called Richardson and joined the police force with him. However, when he was assigned to kill his own people in jail, he refused. Instead, Jandamarra changed sides and freed his own people. From then on Jandamarra was on the list of “wanted”. I think he’s cool because he never betrayed his own people.

Joseph, 9

1. Donald Bradman – he was a great cricket player

2. AB (Banjo Paterson) because of his bush poetry.

3. CJ Dennis who also wrote bush poetry

4. Cathy Freeman – a very fast runner

5. Fay Kathleen Howe – she lived on Breaksea Island in a lighthouse in WA and even when she was still a girl she used to pass on telegraph messages from soldiers on passing ships to the soldiers’ families during the war.

Matilda, 7

I like Banjo Paterson because of his poems and May Gibbs because I like Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and my Great Nana because without her I wouldn’t be born.

Pippa, 11

1. Howard Florey who discovered Penicillin

2. Edmund Barton – Australia’s first Prime Minister and he pushed for Federation

3. Mary MacKillop – the first Australian saint

4. Lionel Logue – the Australian speech therapist who helped King George VI

5. Can I put me? :-) I’m a poet, writer, musician, composer, editor, book reviewer, publisher, scientific discoverer, mathematician … and more to come!


My Five coolest People in Australian History

1. Ned Kelly the famous bushranger.

2. Sir Donald Bradman amazing cricketer

3. Captain Cook found Australia.

4. C.Y. O’ Connor a famous engineer who built water pipelines and got water to Kalgoorlie gold fields.

5. Banjo Patterson famous for his poetry.

How brilliant are these kids!?

Leave a comment and see if you can impress me with YOUR top 5 coolest people from Australian history.

- Tania McCartney