The ends of the earth

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  • Published 20100503
  • ISBN: 9781921656163
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

LASTING A GOOD part of a minute, the sound was akin to the roar of two hundred horse carriages furiously ridden over cobblestones, writes James Palmer, surveyor of the newest southern colony, in January 1839. I made inquiries of one of the natives who indicated there have been previous earthquakes of similar nature in these parts. However, it was impossible to ascertain their frequency or severity, were I to believe him.

I frown beneath the shuddering roof of the tent, wondering if the earthquake has struck the area my husband, the surveyor, and his men have been engaged to map. I remain pinned to the bed, blinking at the dark, listening. Dogs are barking. People call out. Some have lit lamps with which to inspect the tents, the provisions store and the newly laid foundations of the hospital. Slowly I reach for the Bible I keep wrapped in a white linen cloth with my diary. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

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About the author

Emma Ashmere

Emma Ashmere lives in northern New South Wales. She holds a PhD in English from La Trobe University investigating the use of marginalised histories...

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