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Bill Hampel / Mallee Roots

  • Bill Hampel / Mallee Roots
No chemist, no bank, no library, even in primary or secondary school, and no mains electricity until Bill Hampel turned fifteen. Some might say he was disadvantaged. But from the perspective of some city children today, he was far from being deprived. Mallee Roots is an account of the rich community culture of Walpeup, a small, remote Mallee town in the years 1942 to 1956. Isolated from bigger centres by gravel roads and distance, life demanded a high degree of interdependence and sharing. Occasionally it was in grief but regularly in fun. Until he left, the author encountered no apparent differences in status or wealth. He found plenty of things to do, and boundless opportunity to get into trouble and, later, to work side by side with adults and become more responsible. As well as describing his relationships with townspeople and farmers, the writer paints an affectionate picture of a father who was always on his children’s side. For his mother, life brought fewer rewards in the town and, before that, during the Depression on a struggling farm with no domestic amenities. To compensate for the routines of school life, the author caused more mischief than is reasonable but not enough to prevent completion of high school and his departure, ultimately to train teachers like those he gave so much grief. Funny and informative, Mallee Roots gives a unique view of community strength, something now not always attainable.
978 1 76041 662 1, 204pp




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