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The sleek buildings, sprawling cities and wide open spaces of Australia have about them little of the picturesque or raffish and so, little to offer Mr. Sasek though he must perforce put them on repeated display; convicts, now, are something else -- though just what (i.e. why 'the first British settlers came in chains') we never learn notwithstanding the several references to them. In fact, they're a stock joke: Port Arthur ""provided accommodations for some 30,000 new arrivals. . . . No, it was not a hostelry. It was a penitentiary."" Also, with picture, ""This was a lifer's uniform. . . . But Port Arthur's design for living was something else again"" -- with an almost unreadable reproduction of a chart showing the number of lashes administered annually for various offenses. So it goes on, wanly whimsical and worth mentioning only because a child, not knowing what to make of it, may make more than he should. Sasek does get around and where there's sufficient visual variety -- as in Alice Springs and environs -- the book makes fairly interesting looking; otherwise a good deal of it looks alike and though this may be Australia, it is only a superficial aspect of it. (An error in dating on p. 24 is such that even a child may spot it.)

Pub Date: March 15th, 1971
ISBN: 0789318547
Publisher: Macmillan