Introducing Allison Paterson
Allison Paterson is the author of the 2016 ABIA and CBCA longlisted title Anzac Sons: Five Brothers on the Western Front, the children’s version of the adult non-fiction title Anzac Sons: the Story of Five Brothers in the War to End All Wars. Shearing Time is her latest release and is a companion story to Granny’s Place. Her children’s picture book called Granny’s Place is related to Anzac Sons, being inspired by delightful childhood memories of her grandparents and their farm.Allison is a judge for the Redgum Young Aussie Writers’ Awards, a children’s book reviewer and was a teacher-librarian for over twenty years. The May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust recently awarded Allison a 2017 Creative Time Fellowship, four weeks in Canberra just to write!
Anzac Sons: Five Brothers on the Western Front
Name something positive you discovered:
While the events of WWI could arguably depict human nature at its worst, the war also generated many examples of amazing courage, selflessness and resilience, all qualities of great character. There are many familiar stories of truly remarkable and heroic Australian soldiers but, for the first time, I could appreciate and admire those stories that are not so familiar, from the family left at home to manage the farm, to the Australian soldiers who saved my Grandfather’s life when he was buried alive, to those who lost not only loved ones, but gave way their homes, villages and cities to the tragedy of battlefields. The capacity of human nature to pick itself up, overcome adversity and rebuild is both astounding and admirable.
Name something sad you discovered:
Walking the battlefields of the Western Front has left a resounding sadness. In this very small part of the world millions of people were killed, across a farmer’s field thousands of men disappeared; it was difficult to comprehend.
Name something interesting you discovered:
History is fascinating and I enjoy research - there is a lot of detective work to be done! Consequently, the process of creating Anzac Sons was very satisfying. There are so many interesting discoveries to share but one that resonates is how delays in communication brought tragic consequences on both a personal and grand scale. It took at least six weeks for a letter to reach Australia from the Western Front, often longer. When George Marlow was killed his family in Australia was notified by telegram, letters he wrote arrived in the mail for several weeks after. His brothers, who served in another battalion but were not far away, knew George had been injured but did not receive word that he had died for six weeks after his death. They kept searching for him, assumed he had been sent to England and continued to write letters to their family advising them that George was recovering. Our capacity to instantly communicate today is something we can easily take for granted.
Anzac Sons is adaptable for Primary studies of Anzac Day and Remembrance Day and a valuable resource containing primary sources for secondary studies of the Australian Experience at War.