Baker's Dozen: A Farming Family During the Great Depression Rae Harvie Author
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Daniel and Molly O'Shea and their twelve children leave Elliston in 1925 to take up a government settler's block five miles out of Yaninee, on the west coast of South Australia. Molly promises God that she will become a catholic if her seven-year-old daughter is found safe from the bowels of the scrub at the half-way point. After three days Maggie is found, but when Molly loses the baby she is expecting at the new farm, she decides to have nothing to do with a God that can give and take at a whim. In 1929 when the drought begins, the forerunner to the Great Depression of 1930, wheat prices fall at a time when the farm has not built up enough equity to withstand a couple of years without income. Daniel becomes a shadow of his violent father, abusing Molly and the children both physically and emotionally. The Baker's Dozen link is broken a few years later when one of the children drown.The story has much humour in the early years, but tough issues are included later. This story is about Molly's losses; a loss of a close relationship with Daniel, loss of babies and children, friends and loss of identity. It is also about the vulnerability of women at the hands of men. I have explored the strategies characters use to cope with hardship and abuse, and how it can be connected to the past. The story encapsulates laughter, tears, suffering and fortitude.


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