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Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Pastures of the Blue Crane

Pastures of the Blue Crane, First Edition Cover, front by Annette Macarthur Onslow
, and back, a bit less inspiring.
Pic and Illustration about "Gidget" from
.....the book "Surfing USA"
Achingly beautiful, page 1 and Annette Onslow's pic of cafe life in 1960's Melbourne. Paris eat your heart out.
One of the surfing pics. Once again, Onslow has nailed it.

Hi

Since I was quite young I have been a surfer, and even when I can't be near the ocean, I have sought out some equivalent adrenalin charging pastimes. A while ago I gave up skateboarding but still ride bikes including some I've designed and built myself. Books on surfing have interested me and I knew about the American "Gidget" surfer girl books and movies but have never seen or read them. Until a few weeks ago I wasn't aware of any Australian equivalent.

Then I came across"Pastures of the Blue Crane" by Hesba Fay Brinsmead. The book is still in print, and there are reviews of it on the internet thingy. Here, I just wanted to highlight the surfing content of the book which is small in quantity and possibly incidental but to me, great in meaning.

The main protagonist in the book is Ryl, a young orphan who migrates to The Goldcoast of Queensland from Melbourne with her crusty grandfather. Ryl ends up hanging out with a few surfers and learns to surf herself, but she never ends up addicted to surfing or anything else. She goes for a surf on a big surf day. What is good about this scene is that it is not written as an end in itself, but more as a story about mateship. One of her fellow surfers on the big day is a land surveyor and they bond over surfing, then later this mateship helps her.

So this is a coming of age book but I think all ages and genders can get something out of it. There are bits about race and skin colour and general tolerance but no alcohol fuelled violence or car crashes. Highly recommended!

The philosophies of "Blue Crane" are highly regarded and there is even a Facebook fan page. Not bad for 1 55 year old book.

Regards

Steve Nurse

PS My copy of the book is now on its way to my neice Cicely who lives on the Goldy, and I've ordered a replacement 1969 version through ebay.

Update: 1969 version of Blue crane arrived today and I am very happy. A photo of the main differences is below, some of  Hesba Fay Brinsmead's other books are featured on the back cover and fly leaf, and there is a picture by Peter Farmer.


3 comments:

  1. Great find Steve . I loved this book and read it many times. I’d forgotten the surfing. My main memory is the ancestry of Perry... the south sea islanders who were kidnapped to work on the sugarcane plantations

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  2. thanks Sarah, the local recycling centre accepts books for rehoming and I think I picked it up for free from there, I visit it regularly! The fact the book means different things to different people makes it great I guess. Will check out your blogs, regards Steve nurse

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