Ford Street, 2023
48pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99
Every country town has its own unique history shaped by its location, its settlers and the events that have come and gone over the years.
In this book, somewhat reminiscent of the seminal text My Place by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins, and Window by Jeannie Baker, the story of a fictitious town is traced from its earliest times as a camp for a First Nations clan, and then from the 1820s when European explorers arrive, one decides to stay and run sheep, displacing those earliest inhabitants, and beginning a new story that features significant events that might have occurred over the ensuing 200 years.
Beginning with a poem by Robyn Ridgeway that describes the life her ancestors led but foretelling the feeling that great change is to come, each significant event, both natural and not, is explored and its impact explained so this becomes an oral history rather than just a series of facts and figures. Each snapshot is accompanied by a detailed illustration that has much to investigate in itself as well as comparing it to the previous illustrations as the changes happen and the town evolves.
Extensive teachers’ notes are available inviting the students to explore this text in detail, compare it to Window and then look at the history of their own town. They also suggest ways to use it from a broader perspective offering an entire term’s history curriculum that covers other strands of the Australian Curriculum, including the cross-curricular priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures making it a valuable addition to a teacher’s personal toolbox as well as one that the teacher librarian can suggest with confidence. Take a peek inside here.