The Marvellous Funambulist of Middle Harbour and other Sydney Firsts by Hilary Bell
Published by NewSouth Publishing
This is a story of Sydney
In order of who did what first:
The incidents, places and people,
All illustrated and versed.
Who first pulled a tooth using ether?
What started the first pistol fight?
When were the first Chinese tea rooms?
Where was the first traffic light?
Author, Hilary Bell has given life to some Sydney firsts with flare, in order of who did what first: the incidents, places and people, all versed, and illustrated with energy by Matthew Martin.
Hilary Bell has chosen to draw our attention to parts of history that other history books may have written sparsely about, and readers perhaps would have glossed over without a second thought.
The MARVELLOUS FUNAMBULIST of MIDDLE HARBOUR and other Sydney firsts begins with a verse about the very First Sydneysiders, an acknowledgement of the Eora people, the name given to the coastal Aboriginal people. From there, we read about the first pistol duel, the first cemetery, the first ferryman to charge a fare, the first use of ether by a dental surgeon, the first cricket team to leave Sydney for an overseas tour, the first mother-and-daughter taxidermy business, the first crossing of Middle Harbour by tightrope, the first grand building on fire, the first Chinese tea rooms, the first surfer-girl, the first traffic light, the first opera house concert, the first revolving restaurant, the first dancing-horse theme park, the first Sydney Olympic Games and the first rainbow crossing.
This is a history book that makes learning about Australia's history memorable. I can see an educational mapping excursion of the places that were, and the places that are. This book brings enjoyment into studying the history of Australia, and I hope that there is a series involving other capital cities, and indeed, other places of Australia.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Hilary Bell
Illustrator: Matthew Martin
Title: The Marvellous Funambulist of Middle Harbour and other Sydney Firsts
Publisher: NewSouth Publishing
Published: December 2015