Banjo Paterson is one of the most prolific poets in Australia’s history, yet very little has been written about his family, in particular his mother, Rose Paterson. In the forthcoming book Looking for Rose Paterson (NLA Publishing, $39.99, March 2017) author Jennifer Gall provides an intriguing insight into the relationship between Rose and Andrew Paterson, and the family environment that came to shape their son, Banjo.

As a pastoral station manager, Andrew was frequently away, leaving Rose to manage their seven children alone and isolated on a rural station, with no domestic help and a tight budget—something a woman of Rose’s class wouldn’t have expected. The book features a selection of original letters from Rose to her sister Nora between 1873 and 1888, vividly bringing nineteenth-century rural Australia to life.

Looking for Rose Paterson provides a fascinating historical insight into the Paterson family, allowing the reader to better understand the environment that shaped Banjo and nurtured his development as a balladeer. Author Dr Jennifer Gall is Assistant Curator, Documents and Artefacts, at the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra, and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University School of Music. Her publications include In Bligh’s Hand: Surviving the Mutiny on the Bounty, published by the National Library of Australia, for which she won the 2011 Barbara Ramsden Award.

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