Read The Timeless Land by Eleanor Dark Online


An historical novel about the earliest days of the European settlement in Australia. These were times of hardship, cruelty and danger. They were also the times of conflict between the Aborigines and the white settlers....

Title : The Timeless Land
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780006160168
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 554 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Timeless Land Reviews

  • Dorcas
    2018-12-06 07:19

    So this was very good but I'm glad I'm done now :)Timeless Land is a historical novel about the very beginning of the penal colonization of Australia, viewed from both the native and the white viewpoint. I thought the native insight was extremely well done, sensitive without being condescending, and really quite insightful, especially when you see how the natives, while not exactly prospering were self sufficient, while at the same time the "enlightened" whites starved for lack of ship's stores. I think its important for prospective readers need to know that this is very much a historical novel. The history is well researched and many actual letters and diary entries are quoted which are a real peek into the past but can also be just a bit dry.As far as characters go, many are factual but for one reason or another, I never really became invested in them. Admittedly, some people were more interesting than others (I was especially fascinated with an escaped convict who went native, as well as a boy who kept running away to live with the tribes--both of which were fictional, go figure) but when circumstances stepped in to kill someone off, I was able to look on in a pretty detached way. And I do like to feel a bit more. Call me sentimental, but that's how I roll.Oh and by the way , if frequent POV changes irritate you, this book is full of them. I found it jolting at first but eventually got into the swing of it and it didn't bother me so much.Still, its worth reading and the writing is excellent.Recommended for lovers of chunky, historically- heavy sagas. (By the way this is only book one in a trilogy, so if you like what you read there's mooooore!)CONTENT: Mild PGSEX: alluded to but not shownVIOLENCE: Some mild violence but not overly descriptivePROFANITY: Mild (D and B)

  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    2018-11-20 05:30

    ‘Bennilong and his father had come down to the cliffs again, alone.’The Timeless Land (first published in 1941) is a work of historical fiction by Eleanor Dark (1901–1985). It is the first novel in The Timeless Land trilogy, which is about the European settlement and exploration of Australia.The narrative is told from English and Aboriginal points of view. It opens with Bennilong’s memory of being with his father Wunbula, waiting for the boat with wings which Wunbula had seen some time earlier. When the boat does not return, its sighting becomes less significant. But when the First Fleet arrives in January 1788, Bennilong remembers what his father had seen and spoken of.The novel describes the first years of the colony, the attempts by Captain Arthur Phillips to impose European values and standards on the Aborigines and to involve them in European settlement. It also describes the famine suffered by the settlement, and the devastating effects of introduced disease (particularly smallpox) on the Aboriginal population. The novel ends in 1792, but the epilogue returns focus to Bennilong and provides a glimpse of how his life has been dislocated.I first read this novel in the early 1970s, and loved it. It was the first novel I’d read that tried to look at the European settlement in 1788 from both an Aboriginal and European perspectives. And Australia itself, the ‘timeless land’ seen through very different eyes.Lieutenant Tench thought: ‘This place did not welcome you, like Rio; it did not look particularly fertile, and it was certainly not languorous. Nor did it repel you, like Table Bay; it offered no enmity, no resistance. It simply waited.’Wunbula’s earlier knowledge was that ‘Nothing could change the land, the eternal land, to which each generation of men was but one indrawn breath of its endless survival.’Rereading this novel reminded me of the joy I found in reading it the first time, my sense that Eleanor Dark had captured something of the mystery of the land, as well as a sense of the impact of European arrival on both Europeans and Aboriginals. There are always some elements of the past which we could wish were handled differently. I’m currently rereading the second novel in the trilogy, ‘Storm of Time’, seeing Australian history though slightly different eyes.Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  • Martine Bailey
    2018-11-28 03:24

    Thanks to the wonderful New Zealand library system, this was yet another old Australian classic I could download and borrow for free when living there(take note UK libraries). The Timeless Land is a fictional exploration of the Australian land as 'character' - brooding, fickle, unchanging - and the various figures who move upon it. We begin with Bennelong, the aborigine, who remembers sighting Captain Cook, and so we have a sense of ominous doom as the First Fleet arrive loaded with the convicts of Britain. There are so many memorable scenes - the gruelling exploration of the labyrinthine, tussocky land itself, the escaped convict (Prentice) setting up his own free settlement, and the rich Irishman aghast at the low life he slowly sinks into.One reason this is a classic of Australian fiction is the moving viewpoint and sympathy towards characters such as Bennelong, whose boastful, vibrant character is put at such risk by the newcomers.The atmosphere is dark and tense, and though a long and intense read, it offers a wonderful insight into the founding (or destruction) of Australia.

  • Argyl
    2018-12-07 08:18

    This is a really fascinating fictional but historically-based exploration of the founding of the first European colonies in Australia. It is unusual in a number of respects. The point of view moves from character to character including several of the aborigines which makes for a very balanced presentation. Also, there is very little dialogue. Most of the action is viewed from or takes place in the heads of the characters. And not just the main characters. Some readers may find this approach tedious but I found myself fully involved from beginning to end. Finally, it is worth noting that this novel is very sympathetic to the dilemmas of the aboriginal peoples who are confronted with the seemingly unstoppable expansion of the white settlements on their land. A must-read for anyone who is particularly interested in Australian history.

  • Blair
    2018-11-22 07:25

    This is an epic retelling of the first years of European settlement in Australia, from just before the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 until 1793 (and a bit beyond in the epilogue). It's a classic that I'd somehow never heard of but which all Australians (and others) should read. Eleanor Dark wrote this from 1937-1940 and it was published in 1941. It's the first in a trilogy. It's a remarkable achievement built from countless hours of research and reading of the original correspondence but also works hard to imagine the Aboriginal point of view in a way that I think is largely successful and if nothing else is a feat of empathy that many would do well to emulate.

  • Jacqui
    2018-11-20 10:08

    While The Timeless Land was personally a very challenging read, I'm glad I stuck with it until the very end because it really is a beautifully written story that contains what I believe are distinctly important Australian themes.The reasons I found it difficult to maintain interest was because the book was written in the 1940s and therefore is full of verbose sometimes unfamiliar language and long sentences (as was the literary style at that time). The book also has sprinkled within it actual historical letters written by the colonists during 1788 - 1792, which, while I appreciate the research Dark put behind this work, definitely slowed down the pace of the novel. Thirdly, preferring plot-driven as opposed to character-driven historical fiction (which the Timeless Land is), also contributed to my slowness in finishing the book. The things mentioned above altogether lengthened what was already a impressive 600 pages of small print.However, despite my mentioning of all the things above, I did find this book to be incredibly well-written with great character progression (as in you really get to understand every aspect that makes up the identities of main characters like Bennilong, Governor Phillip and Andrew Prentice). The characters were what I loved the most about the book, and the reason I kept coming back to read. Having read Coonardoo earlier this year (which thoroughly annoyed me), I would also like to applaud Dark for the effort she put into making sure her book contained a balance of both Indigenous and White settler perspectives. While I'm not Indigenous myself, I do think she was ahead of her time, in that her portrayal of Aboriginals and their culture was not expressed as inferior to white settler society. I think she did a really good job at expressing how miscommunication occurred between the two cultures during those early days, as well as displayed how there were many times when the white people were ignorant in their thinking and hypocritical when it came to their laws and deeming of Aboriginal people as savages.This book is also full of foreboding (perhaps because, thanks to the gift of hindsight, we know what's coming), and the ending bittersweet. I still thoroughly enjoyed it because overall, The Timeless Land left me really thinking about Australian society, our treatment of Aboriginals, and our relationship to the land. I think that even though this is a challenging read, it's a challenge definitely worth undertaking if you love Australian historical fiction or simply want to know more about topics like Indigenous culture, what the convicts had to endure, and colonialism.

  • Shaun
    2018-11-21 09:11

    An interesting book, that I found a hard slug. Detailing the originally settling of Australia, it told the story with characters both European and Aboriginal, with all being treated with sympathy. The problem I had with the book, was that much it read less like a piece of fiction, and more like an historical non fiction, which made it hard to engage with many of the characters. Despite that, an interesting read.

  • Jon Ellis
    2018-11-28 05:18

    Great read I am glad this was recommended to me. Gives a really interesting insight into what it would have been like to be involved in the clash of cultures when the settlers arrived in 1788.

  • Yoni Bain
    2018-12-14 02:07

    3WR: "'Timeless' took forever."

  • Peter
    2018-12-15 07:21

    The book creates a remarkable sense of place of the first settlement of Australia, being written from not only the perspectives of the settlers, Governor Philip and convicts but the aborigines as well. The landscape comes to life with descriptions of the bush and endeavours to capture the country as it was before the moment of settlement. First published in 1941 it is a book ahead of its time and the narration by James Condon adds to the atmosphere.

  • Richard
    2018-12-12 04:07

    The book was written in 1941. though listed as a novel it is historically researched and careful and kind to the aborigines first encountered by the Brits who are setting up a convict colony near Sydney in Australia. What we would today term historical fiction it is well done and one of the subjects I love.

  • Mallee Stanley
    2018-12-02 06:25

    This was my grade 12 compulsory reading but unlike many students who don't appreciate what they HAVE to read, I loved this book. For those who are interested in the history of the European invasion of Australia, you'll enjoy this fictional version.

  • Matt
    2018-12-17 04:27

    A great book about the early settling of Australia. Beautiful prose about aboriginal peoples. The language is a bit thicker, heightening the literary fell of it all. If you like the historical or aboriginal, a must read.

  • Sabelmouse
    2018-12-16 07:27

    a really great book about the settling of australia from the perspective of three groups. the aboriginees, the prisoners and the army/guards.eleanor was ahead of her time.

  • Dave
    2018-12-01 08:16

    Written in 1941 - Historical novel about 1st English to settle in Australia - interesting and relevant.

  • Wendy
    2018-12-15 10:20

    It seems unfair to give a classic only 2 stars. For me it was about genre. It was fine for this genre, it was just too dry for me.