Havelock Ellis’s Australian Idyll
WHEN you consider how much Australiana is now available, which only a few years ago was virtually inaccessible, it is a little surprising that no one has thought to re-issue Havelock Ellis's one published venture into prose fiction, Kanga Creek: An Australian Idyll (1922). True, it is not a very substantial work. It amounts to about forty pages of printed matter, really a long short story: Ellis himself called it a 'sketch'. It isn't of much use to the social historian either. Ellis wasn't seeking out specifically Australian experiences, and his impressions were correspondingly restricted to what he happened to see. On the other hand, as far as his impressions went, they were interesting in themselves and, we can safely assume, as accurate as he could make them. The value of Kanga Creek lies rather in what I suppose must be called its literary merit. H. M. Green was altogether right to call it 'an exquisite little idyll'.
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