The Singing Line: Tracking the Australian Adventures of My Intrepid Victorian Ancestors (Paperback)
Following the tradition of Daisy Bates in the Desert and In Patagonia, Alice Thomson conjures up a country of unimaginable strangeness and beauty.
In 1855, Charles Todd and his impetuous young bride Alice--for whom Alice Springs would be named--left the comfort of Victorian England for the wilds of South Australia, a place so isolated that letters from home took five months to arrive. It was Charles's dream to improve this situtaion. In 1870, Todd set out with an army of men, supplies, and Afghan camels to run a telegraph line--"the singing line"--from Adelaide in the south to Darwin in the north.
Braving scorching sun, flies, mosquitoes, drenching rains, and all manner of terrible food, Alice Thomson and her husband retraced that trek more than a century later. The result is a wry and mesmerizing narrative--combining the delights of travel writing, family memoir, and colonial history in a thoroughly enjoyable tale.
"To return to a world in which news traveled less quickly, one only needs to read Alice Thomson's...The Singing Line."--The New York Times Book Review