'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 26 March 2020

Review: Eureka: A Story of the Goldfields

Eureka: A Story of the Goldfields is inspired by the real life of Catherine Martin, daughter of an English immigrant and Pan Ah Shin, a Chinese farmer that worked on the Goldfields.

The story tells of the Eureka rebellion which took place against unfair laws and enforced licence fees on the goldfields at Ballarat. It portrays in text and visual images, the environment on the goldfields, the intense dislike of the Chinese miners by others, and the social structure of the times.

Molly and her dad arrive at the goldfields to make money for a new life. Her mother has died leaving Molly only a gold locket.

Father and daughter know nothing of how to pan for gold. Young Chen shows them how. Licence fees are enforced and plans to increase them have the miners up in arms supported by their leader, Peter Lalor.

On the 3rd of December, 1854, the Eureka stockade is attacked by police and soldiers in a fight that lasted fifteen minutes.

Mark Wilson’s exquisite visual portrayal of this tragic event in Australian history is breathtaking. The splendour of his illustrations can hardly be done justice with words. Many of the full page images look like photos but are not.

Created in striking colour using photo-realism in acrylic painting on canvas and board, permanent markers, and watercolour, each picture dictates the technique.

Stunning external covers depict Molly being taught by Chen how to pan for gold. A wide strip on the back cover continues the attack on miners by the soldiers beneath the Eureka flag as it wafts in the wind above the slaughter.

A poignant backstory leads to the happenings of that day. A happy ending dissolves the sadness.

Title: Eureka: A Story of the Goldfields
Author/Illustrator: Mark Wilson
Publisher: Hachette, $24.99
Publication Date: January 2020
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780734416810
For ages: 5+
Type: Australian History

Come back and visit on the 8 April when KBR uncovers exactly what Mark is reading in the way of kids' books in our popular, Look What I'm Reading! posts.