Thursday, 19 January 2012

Gunnedah Hero

Gunnedah Hero by Clancy Tucker (
PB $30.00 (plus postage and handling approx $5)
ISBN 78-0-646-55733-5
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Gunnedah Hero is a book that will be remembered long after its reading. It’s an Australian historical, fictional adventure presented in two parallel stories set in the past and present. It showcases the effects of drought on the lives of the farming communities and the landscape, as it profiles the drastic measures taken by desperate farmers to save their stock and land.

Fourteen-year-old Gunnie Danson is faced with a real challenge when he has a school assignment on the drought. He knows nothing about the subject. But a weekend at the cattle farm Wiralee Station that has been in the family since 1848, and a manuscript in a box left to him by Smokey, his great, great grandfather, will change his life forever.

As Gunnie begins to read the manuscript, little by little he uncovers Smokey’s life, including the greatest challenge he faced when he drove their remaining one hundred cattle during the harshest drought up the long paddock in1910, to save Wiralee Station.

The central story is told in lyrical prose in Smokey’s words. The language reflects the poetic style of the era used in poems and story-telling. This coming-of age-story about a boy with courage, resourcefulness and resilience plays out amidst other sub-stories of Australian pioneers seeped in their own grief, loss and a struggle for survival.

But it is not a dark tale. The story is filled with light and hope; with impressive characters that coloured the early landscape with their escapades and adventures. Some carried terrific stories along with news to the lonely drovers they encountered. Others brought danger and were a threat to the solitary traveller. A recurring point that flows through the book, is the relationship between the drovers/farmers and their animals – mainly dogs and horses, and the crucial, often life-saving role they played.

The poetry that the author has included gives another dimension to the prose with its relevance and humour. These poems are again singular sub-stories which portray other lives; where life becomes the focus, no matter whose life is portrayed.

This is a perfectly crafted, exceptionally well-written book which has been self-published. It comes highly recommended by the reviewer.


  1. Thank you Anastasia for the insightful review of Clancy's novel. We are very grateful to both you and Vicki for your support for this book tour. Without wonderful people like you, many great books, like this one, would never reach their audience.
    Elaine and Clancy

  2. Absolute pleasure to let readers know about the books that are out there, especially those that include one of my favourite topics Australian history.

  3. I just loved the book. The story is somehow intriguing; you can’t pause or stop for a while because you want to know what will happen to him. No wonder it was listed in top Kindle books before.


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