We of the Never Never

We of the Never Never (1982)

Plot summary

Based on the autobiographical book of the same name. In 1902, Melbourne, a man and a woman get married. Then, as they plan to go miles and miles away from civilisation, so the man (Aeneas Gunn) can start his job as manager of a huge cattle and horse station, they catch a train as far north and west as they can. Then, on horseback and riding on bullock trains, the rains come and they must hurry to cross the rivers before they are uncrossable.

Once across the last big river, leaving behind her beloved crates that contain her clothes, books, furniture and cooking utensils (these they don't need, the wife of the boss does not cook; they have a Chinese cook for that), Mrs Gunn (Missus, as she is called by the stockmen and the aborigines - some who have never seen a white woman before, and Mrs Gunn has never seen an aborigine before) must put up with a shack for a home, stockmen ready to leave because women don't belong on the station and the aborigines who will have nothing to do with her.

It takes many months for the men and the aborigines to get used to her, and, together, they turn her shack into a home, and her crates arrive with everything intact, but it still isn't enough for her; she still feels shut out of "their" world. Just as the Gunns have decided to stay on for another year (because that is what he wants), Mr Gunn is struck down with the fever and dies. Feeling absolutely shredded, Mrs Gunn awakens to sounds the aborigines are making, and she asks a young girl what it is, and the young girl tells her it is a corroboree, for her, and she goes to investigate, holding the young girl's hand.

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