Would you like to see a little of the story reader? I’d hoped you might.

Well here you are then . . .

Every part of me was jolted and shaken. I felt as if my very bones had rattled out of joint and my teeth ached. I could no longer admire the unusual beauty of this new land, my new home, New South Wales. The ruts in the track ahead looked as if they were worse than those that we’d already lurched over and through. I swivelled around on the hard seat of the wagon to look back at the “Great North Road” although I wonder at the sanity of anyone would could consider the jumble of ruts and gauges in the clay, that stretched both behind and before us, a road.

“Mr O’Brien” I called out to the gnarled brown man who ambled along beside the beasts of burden cracking his long snaking whip like a conductor’s baton. The bullocks moved as one as they clamoured along, throwing their weight against the yokes that bound them together to pull the massive wagon.

“Yes Missy,” he turned his wizened face toward me and waited as the bullock team lumbered by, bouncing on a particularly rough piece of track. The wagon upon which I was perched drew level to where he stood and I could look into the bright blue of his eyes, eyes too young and lively for his weather beaten face.

“Is it much further?” I asked again, and wiped at a rivulet of perspiration that had began to run down the side of my face, I took the untied bonnet from my head and using the brim as a fan, I flapped it in front of my face. The slight breeze created by my flapping did little to alleviate the ridiculous heat, it only served to move the hot languid air slightly.

“Tis’ only a few miles on Missy, but the track is a mite rough in this part, had big rains a few months back, near washed out the road altogether.” His attention went quickly back to the oxen, never breaking stride over the uneven ground as he moved along the line, barking orders to one and murmuring encouragement to another, always urging them on.

I wriggled on the hard bench of the dray and felt the sigh whoosh up from my lungs. My emotions swung between joy at the prospect of seeing Papa, and despair at the sadness of our reunion without Mama to share it. I wondered, as I had done countless times since I’d arrived why Papa had not met the ship.