|Author||Jeannie Gunn, writing under the name of Mrs Aeneas Gunn|
|Subject||Life in the bush in Australia in the early 20th century|
|Set in||Northern Territory, Australia|
|ISBN||0 09 148321 2|
We of the Never Never is an autobiographical novel by Jeannie Gunn first published in 1908. Although published as a novel, it is an account of the author's experiences in 1902 at Elsey Station near Mataranka, Northern Territory in which she changed the names of people to obscure their identities. She published the book under the name Mrs Aeneas Gunn, using her husband's first and last name. Over the years, newspapers and magazine articles chronicled the fortunes of the Elsey characters. Jeannie outlived all but Bett-Bett.
Gunn was the first white woman to settle in the Mataranka area. Her husband Aeneas was a partner in the Elsey cattle station on the Roper River, some 483 km (300 miles) south of Darwin. On 2 January 1902 the couple sailed from Melbourne for Port Darwin so that he could take up a job as the station's new manager. In Palmerston (Darwin), Gunn was discouraged from accompanying her husband to the station on the basis that as a woman she would be "out of place" on a station such as the Elsey. However, she travelled south and her book describes the journey, settling in, and the difficulties of life in the bush. Jennie Gunn lived on the cattle station for about a year before her husband, Aeneas, died of malarial dysentery on 16 March 1903. Jeannie returned to Melbourne shortly afterwards and never returned to the Northern Territory.
There is a replica of the homestead depicted in We of the Never Never at the Mataranka Homestead accommodation close to the township of Mataranka.
We of the Never Never was first published in London by Hutchinson after being rejected by six publishers.It was translated into German in 1927. By 1945, 320,000 copies of the book had been sold. This novel, together with her other book, was adapted for Australian schools. By 1990 over a million copies of the book had been sold.
The book is regarded as being significant as a precursor of the 1930s landscape writers. Already in 1908 Australia was a significantly urbanised country and the book was seen to provide symbols of things that made Australia different from anywhere else, underwriting an Australian legend of life and achievement in the outback, where "men and a few women still lived heroic lives in rhythm with the gallop of a horse" in "forbidding faraway places".
In 1988 the book was referred to as a "minor masterpiece of Australian letters" by Penguin’s New Literary History of Australia.
The book was made into a film also called We of the Never Never in 1982 and shot on location in the Northern Territory - the setting of the novel.
Notable people who appear as characters in the book include:
A number of characters from the book We of the Never Never are buried at the small bush Elsey Cemetery near Mataranka. km to the south of Mataranka to the east off the main Stuart Highway. (The turnoff, which is signposted, is a little to the south of the junction of the Stuart Highway and the Roper Highway). The Elsey cemetery is around 7 km further on along the road (at location 15.079° S and 133.122° E). The cemetery itself is close to the location of the original Elsey station described in We of the Never Never.The turnoff to the cemetery is around 12
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Anna Creek Station is the world's largest working cattle station. It is located in the Australian state of South Australia.
In Australia and New Zealand, a cattle station is a large farm, the main activity of which is the rearing of cattle. The owner of a cattle station is called a grazier. The largest cattle station in the world is Anna Creek Station in South Australia, which covers an area of 23,677 square kilometres.
Mataranka is a town and locality in the Northern Territory of Australia located about 420 km (260 mi.) southeast of the territory capital of Darwin, and 107 km (66 mi.) south of Katherine. At the 2016 census, Mataranka recorded a population of 350. 29.5% of residents are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
The Overlanders is a 1946 British film about drovers driving a large herd of cattle 1,600 miles overland from Wyndham, Western Australia through the Northern Territory outback of Australia to pastures north of Brisbane, Queensland during World War II.
Roper Bar is a location in Australia's Northern Territory. It lies on the traditional land of the Ngalakgan people who used the placename Yurlhbunji to refer to Roper Bar. This part of Australia is extremely remote for travellers although there are a number of Aboriginal communities in the region including Ngukurr, Urapunga and Minyerri. A 4WD trek through these parts can be an extension of the Gulf Track on a journey further up north to Darwin or Arnhem Land.
Australia is a 2008 adventure drama film directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. The screenplay was written by Luhrmann and screenwriter Stuart Beattie, with Ronald Harwood and Richard Flanagan. The film is a character story, set between 1939 and 1942 against a dramatised backdrop of events across northern Australia at the time, such as the bombing of Darwin during World War II.
Banka Banka Station is a location in the Northern Territory of Australia, 100 kilometres north of Tennant Creek along the Stuart Highway. The historic cattle station was the first operational pastoral lease in this region, and a supply camp during World War II, providing meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables. It was occupied and run by the Ward family and is still the site of a mudbrick homestead.
Jeannie Gunn was an Australian novelist, teacher and Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) volunteer.
Gunn is an inner-city suburb of Palmerston, Northern Territory, Australia. It is 23 km southeast of the Darwin CBD. Its local government area is the City of Palmerston. Gunn is bounded to the north by the Temple Tce and Roystonea Ave, to the west is Chung Wah Terrace, and to the south is Lambrick Ave and East is Roystonea Ave. The suburb is mostly composed of developments from the 2000s to 2010s after Cyclone Tracy struck Darwin in 1974.
Anthony Lagoon is a cattle station on the Barkly Tableland in the Northern Territory, Australia. It is situated approximately 215 kilometres (134 mi) east of Elliott and 227 kilometres (141 mi) south of Borroloola. Eva Downs is run as an outstation of Anthony Lagoon and employs a separate manager, but is part of the same operation.
We of the Never Never is a 1982 Australian drama film directed by Igor Auzins and starring Angela Punch McGregor, Arthur Dignam, John Jarratt, and Tony Barry. It is based on the 1908 autobiographical novel We of the Never Never by Jeannie Gunn. It was nominated for five AFI awards and earned one award for best cinematography.
Wave Hill Station, most commonly referred to as Wave Hill, is a pastoral lease in the Northern Territory operating as a cattle station. The property is best known as the scene of the Wave Hill Walk-Off, a strike by Indigenous Australian workers for better pay and conditions, which in turn was an important influence on Aboriginal land rights in Australia.
Elsey Station is a pastoral lease that once operated as a cattle station in the Northern Territory.
Moroak Station is a pastoral lease that operates as a cattle station in Northern Territory, Australia.
Charles William Tapp best known as Bill Tapp was a pioneer and cattleman from Killarney Station in the Northern Territory of Australia.
The Hundred of Douglas was a Hundred of Gladstone County, Northern Territory of Australia.
The Little Black Princess: a True Tale of Life in the Never-Never Land is a 1905 children's novel by the Australian author Jeannie Gunn.
Elsey is a locality in the Northern Territory of Australia located about 349 kilometres (217 mi) south-east of the territory capital of Darwin.