Based on a true story, 'A Different Earth' is an epic tale of a resilient pioneering woman.
On the threshold of starvation when the potato blight hits Cornwall, Jane Dunstan decides to rescue her family from desperate poverty and her husband, Richard, from the dreadful conditions in the mines. She successfully applies for a "free passage" to migrate to South Australia with their seven children aged from one to twelve. After suffering appalling living conditions in the cramped steerage quarters of the ship and the challenges of the sea during the three month journey, the family, on arrival in South Australia in 1849, travel 100 miles north of Adelaide by bullock wagon to the Burra copper mines.
At Burra they live in an underground dugout in the banks of the Burra Creek and Richard, with his three eldest boys, work in the mine. To Jane it's a dramatic time, with floods, a new baby born underground and the tragic loss of her husband and two daughters.
On the discovery of gold in Victoria in 1851, Jane hires a bullock dray and driver to take her remaining six children on a courageous six-week, 550 mile overland trek to the Victorian goldfields. The story describes the difficulties of locating and traversing the trail, the workings and idiosyn-crasies of the bullock team and its driver, Red, adapting to living in the bush, obtaining bush tucker and dealing with pests and hazards along the way. On arriving at the diggings Jane is horrified by what she sees but ultimately remarries and has three more babies, bringing her total issue to eleven. She eventually has fifty-nine grandchildren.
A Different Earth Paperback edition by Max C. S. Beck