In 1930’s Australia, driving was strictly for the boys. Two ladies hadn’t got the message though and friends Jean and Kathleen were determined to show the men that women were just as capable behind the wheel. Having already driven from Melbourne to Darwin, the two friends had their sights set on something else…the land speed record from Perth to Adelaide. In their Lancia Lambda, could the girls break the record that had been set months earlier by celebrated automobile driver Norman ‘Wizard' Smith…
Well-researched and accessibly pieced together this is a glorious insight into a different world, albeit less than one-hundred years ago. East My Dust! is a brilliant historical picture book that recounts in fine detail the remarkable achievements of Jean Robertson and Kathleen Howell. In the face of much discrimination, their story is testament to sheer ambition, self-belief and a desire to prove the doubters and naysayers wrong. It is a cracking example of rising to the challenge in the face of adversity, of smashing societal expectations and of doing exactly what you want to do despite what others say. The intrepid and pioneering duo, with their foot pressed firmly to the floor, broke down barriers and raced themselves into the history books, leaving a glorious trail of dust in their wake.
Accompanied by trusty companion Barney the dog, Jean and Kathleen were a heroic duo whose accomplishments would leave the men, who laughed, jeered and belittled, with red faces. Like many endeavours, the journey was not without peril or problems. The days were long, dusty and hot, at night, stars and headlights would guide the way. Flat tyres, huge sand dunes, the sudden ending of roads, tiredness and snide comments would all be part of the trials and tribulations but nothing would stop the ambitious and determined pair.
What makes the achievement even more impressive is how the journey was completed. Without the luxury of satellite navigation (no such thing as google maps in those days) it would be intuition and the East West Telegraph Line that would guide the way. In a funny twist, those men that mocked would ironically use the maps of the outback that the girls created on their travels.
Neridah and Lucia exquisitely and lovingly bring to life an important but little known story of Australian trailblazers and, in doing so, recognise and celebrate a fabulous historical accomplishment. Neridah’s wonderful words capture the excitement of the ladies and Lucia’s spectacular artwork vividly brings alive the many different landscapes, flora and fauna of Australia. Readers will be swept away on this thrilling adventure and will be imagining themselves taking a seat alongside Barney for the ride.
Excellent additional content adds further interest with a map of the route and a fact-filled commentary on the backgrounds of both ladies, significant achievements, the challenges they faced and the legacy that they left behind. The inclusion of black and white photos and a sketch of their Lancia Lambda, complete with kit, gives readers further insight into these racing renegades.
Packed full of #girlpower and can do attitude, Eat My Dust! is certainly one to inspire and empower future generations. Every Aussie child should read and enjoy this important piece of lesser known history.
Recommended for 6+.
With huge thanks to Walker for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.