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Salt Creek

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,865 ratings  ·  302 reviews
1855. Failed entrepreneur Stanton Finch moves his family from Adelaide to the remote Coorong area of Southern Australia, in pursuit of his dream to become a farmer.

Housed in a driftwood cabin, they try to make the best of their situation. The children roam the beautiful landscape of Salt Creek; visitors are rare but warmly welcomed; a local Indigenous boy becomes almost pa
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 1st 2015 by Pan Macmillan Australia
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Lucy Treloar Hello! I'm delighted that Salt Creek will be published by Belgravia Books ( in print and Ebook versions in th…moreHello! I'm delighted that Salt Creek will be published by Belgravia Books ( in print and Ebook versions in the UK - available in September 2017, and for preorder now. The audio version is available worldwide. Hope that helps. (less)
Lucy Treloar There's a note in the back of Salt Creek that gives a few details about the blend of fact and fiction in the book. I used a few fragmentary family sto…moreThere's a note in the back of Salt Creek that gives a few details about the blend of fact and fiction in the book. I used a few fragmentary family stories that have come down through the generations, and built characters around them and several historical events from that time and place. Nellie Robinson, Malachi Martin and George Taplin are historical figures, and the Bagshotts are based on the explorer, Herschel Babbage and his son Charles. Sometimes readers don't believe that a relationship between a white woman and an Indigenous man was likely. I do think it would have been fairly rare, but interestingly, I discovered that one of John Barton Hack's (the ancestor on whom Papa Finch is based) granddaughters married an Indigenous man and lived with him in the Adelaide Hills in the 1860s - the time of the Salt Creek narrative. (less)

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Amanda Jane
Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar is a beautifully written novel that almost reads like a song. Treloar superbly intertwines fictional events with factual events set in the 1850's in the rugged and harsh coastal environment of Salt Creek in The Coorong of South Australia.

The story is told from the viewpoint of the extremely likeable Hester (Hetty) Finch. In 1855 Hester Finch is 15 and her family are living a comfortable life in Adelaide, they have a lovely house and many friends. Her Grandmama and Gran
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This story is set 1855 and takes place in Salt Creek on the Coorong of South Australia. The Finch family is struggling to get through each day as their family business is in financial trouble. Neither Mr or Mrs Finch is coping and it seems that fifteen year old Hester (Hetty) is having to take on more than she should for a fifteen year old.

This story is narrated by Hester Finch, who gives us the reader a real understanding of just how hard it was for her and her family. Really emotional and tou
In 1855 Stanton Finch decides to leave his failed businesses and farm behind him and move his family from a genteel existence in Adelaide to an isolated property on the Coorong. He is sure that a fresh start farming cattle is all he needs to get his feet back on the ground. When his wife and children first see the property they are appalled, not just by the isolation of where they are expected to live but the ramshackle house Stanton has built for them from washed up timbers. However, doing thei ...more
Jülie ☼♄ 
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone!
Recommended to Jülie ☼♄  by: Self

Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar

What a beautiful credible story. I didn't want it to finish, I kept holding on to the thin threads of hope that bound this story together and held me captive to the very last page.
I even searched the acknowledgments and the author's bio, in an attempt to find out more, something to hang onto and draw it out just a little bit longer. So reluctant was I to leave it, it almost felt like a betrayal, like I was somehow letting it down by turning the last page and closing the
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of literature and fine writing; Aussie historical fiction fans
UPDATED 26 June 2016: I see this is shortlisted for the Miles Franklin award now, and there's a good interview with the author here -

5★+ (Nov. 2015)
I think this could become a classic. I don’t know where to start. I have succumbed to the urge to share several passages, just to give a sense of the author’s unique voice.

Long story short, Father Finch (a dreamer and schemer) drags mother Finch (from a well-to-do English family) and children o
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brenda by: Jülie ☼♄ 
4.5 stars

Salt Creek on the Coorong of South Australia was the destination of the Finch family in 1855 – fallen on hard times with their business in Adelaide, Mr Finch and his wife brought their entire family to the ramshackle and isolated property of Salt Creek, thinking to make their fortune and restore their good name. But Mr Finch and his grand ideas continued to fail, leaving him continually deeper in debt…

Fifteen year old Hester Finch found the burden of caring for the family falling on her
Salt Creek is one of the very best works of historical fiction I’ve read. All the harder, then, to believe that it’s Lucy Treloar’s debut novel. Since its initial release in Australia in 2015, it has gone on to be shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction and the Miles Franklin Award for Australian novels. We have Claire McAlpine of the blog Word by Word to thank for helping this book find a publisher in the UK. I can particularly recommend it to fans of The Essex Serpent and ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-books
In 2016, Salt Creek, the debut novel by author Lucy Treloar was shortlisted and won a whole host of awards. Salt Creek was a finalist contender for the Miles Franklin award and the recipient of the Matt Richell Award for a New Writer. With all these accolades attached to Salt Creek, I thought it was high time that I read this book.

Salt Creek follows the misfortunes of the Finch family, beginning from the year 1855. This pioneering farming family, headed by
Dale Harcombe
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
4 and a half stars
Firstly what a gorgeous cover on this book. I love it when publishing houses get it absolutely right. This is a beautifully written book that evokes the landscape and the times extremely well. Although the novel to starts in Chichester England in 1874, it soon goes back to The Coorong, South Australia in 1855. The story is told from Hester’s point of view as she remembers her first sight of their new home and the despair from family members as they saw it. It then tells of the
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I did not believe any crop would grow on it or any livestock thrive. Everywhere were rolling grey shrubs and here and there a tree grown slantwise in the wind, I supposed, though it was still enough that day. If the land was an ill-patterned plate, the sky was a vast bowl that curved to meet the ground a very great distance from us in any direction we cared to look. There was no going beyond its rim.”

Salt Creek is the first novel by award-winning Australian author, Lucy Treloar. In the last qua
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful book. I was hooked already on page 7: 'It is my past come to meet me.'
I don't know how she does it, but Lucy Treloar manages to place you to Salt Creek in a wink of an eye and you are there surrounded with salty bushes or lying on a shelley beach. The same with her characters. They feel so close you only need to stretch out your hand and touch Tull, or Addie or any one of this family.
It gave me a lot to think about the first settlers - rough Mr. Martin, Mr. Finch, who is tryi
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I think I would recommend first watching this video to get a sense of who the Ngarrindjeri people are. They are the original people living in the region of South Australia, inhabiting the Coorong and surrounding areas, full of salt marshes and water systems. This novel takes place as settlers are moving in, claiming lands and pushing the Ngarrindjeri people farther inland. The Finch family struggles for survival in their isolated setting, with failing livestock and rotting cheese. Not many of th ...more
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What an absolutely stunning and exquisitely written book. The story of the Finches, their trials and tribulations at Salt Creek is both poignant and hopeful. There is so much heartbreak and so many heart wrenching moments in this book. Like Hester and Addie, Frank and Tully, I found myself riling against "Papa". A proud and stubborn man who would sacrafice his family for his own needs. This book and Treloar's writing, for me, was very reminiscent of both The Secret River and The Poisonwood Bible ...more
Sharon Robards
This was a wonderfully written and evocative book and goes a long way to capturing the human condition through its narrative and characterisations. Set in 1855, the Finch family leave the comforts of their city life and “good society” after falling on hard times and set off to the remote and beautiful Salt Creek.

Told through the eyes of Hester Finch, the eldest daughter and fifteen when the story starts, we see the family flung into an inhospitable coastal wildness inhabited by the Ngarrindjeri
Katie Lumsden
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this! Brilliantly written, powerful and moving throughout, with fascinating historical insight and superb characterisation. I'd highly recommend! ...more
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Andrea by: Elaine Raphael
From my detailed inspection of its exquisite cover to the very last word of the Acknowledgements, I was totally absorbed in this book.

It is 1855 and the Coorong region of South Australia has recently opened up to graziers for the first time. The large Finch family, headed by failed-entrepreneur Papa Finch, arrives at Salt Creek Station to try their luck with cattle.

Albert and Fred found sticks as boys always seem to and ran in circles mad as young dogs about the house, wider and wider, whipping
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This remarkable piece of historical fiction is narrated by Hester Finch, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Finch, formerly of Adelaide, who have arrived in straitened circumstances at an isolated pastoral station in the Coorong area of South Australia in 1855. Her Papa, proud patriarch of his family, is a strong-willed man with poor business sense, whose financial misjudgment has thrown the respectable Finches into debt and poverty. Hester’s Mama, struggling to raise nine children, falls into a prof ...more
3.5★ A rather bleak story, set in South Australia’s Coorong region in the 1850s - 1870s. I am always reminded when I read books set in this period (especially Australian books of this era) just how hard it was to be a woman at this time. Or a child, because the children had to grow up quickly and take on the duties of adulthood earlier than we are accustomed to in this day and age.

I felt sorry for Hester, and her mother. I initially thought her father was good at heart, but a product of his time
Dillwynia Peter
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
For some reason this book took me two months to read. It isn’t boring, nor poorly written, but it also didn’t grab me.

Books set in South Australia have become thin on the ground. We had Colin Thiele years ago, but no one now is telling the SA stories. This one is set in the mid 19th century in the Cooroong – a place that was made famous by Thiele’s Storm Boy. I hope more writers are inspired to tell more South Australian stories: Adelaide and the state has had an interesting history and the expe
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The audio version of Lucy Treloar's brilliant debut novel is beautifully read by Ulli Birve.
“I did not believe any crop would grow on it or any livestock thrive. Everywhere were rolling grey shrubs and here and there a tree grown slantwise in the wind, I supposed, though it was still enough that day. If the land was an ill-patterned plate, the sky was a vast bowl that curved to meet the ground a very great distance from us in any direction we cared to look. There was no going beyond its rim.”

Jennifer (JC-S)
‘It is my past come to meet me.’

This novel is set in the 1850s, in the Coorong region of South Australia. Salt Creek may be beautiful, but this coastal region is remote from Adelaide and comparatively inhospitable. The land has been opened up to graziers, and this is why the Finch family move there. Stanton Finch has fallen on hard times and hopes to make enough money to repay his debts and return to polite society in Adelaide. His wife never really adjusts to the move. Hester, the main characte
This is the third book in my survey of this years Miles Franklin shortlist and it wore me out it is so sort of ....earnest. Set in the 1850's in South Australia it tells a fairly straightforward story of the hardships of the Finch family, their struggle with the land and the complex and unfortunate race relations between them and the indigenous Ngarrindjeri people.
This is one of those books in which the research feels much more palpable than I would like, details feel shoe-horned in, in a way t
Salt Creek is a powerful and riveting account of a family struggling to make a living in the harsh environment of coastal South Australia, depicting the pioneering patriarchal entrepreneur and his devoted but long suffering wife, and the children that will grow up with both an attachment to the place and an instinct to escape it. This story gets inside you and makes you feel the struggle and the dilemma, and wish that it could have been different.

We meet Hester Finch, in Chichester, England in 1
joyce g
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written novel blending fact and fiction into an immersive tale. Highly recommend to those readers who like to get lost in a story.
Michael Livingston
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it

This is a rich, moving book, capturing the loneliness and struggle of the Australian 'frontier', and the horrors that people wrought while thinking they were doing the right thing. The set-up reminded me a lot of The Secret River: a family, down on their luck, move to a remote part of the colony to try to make a life, inevitably encroaching on the lives of the local Indigenous people. Treloar does as good a job as Grenville at capturing the inevitability of the destruction that colonisation b
I had the same issue as a few other reviewers here, I did not feel anything for the characters. It was written really well, no issue there, but it felt like I was seeing the world and characters through hazy glass. Detached from them emotionally, distant views to the landscape and environment. Never close in and personal.
I found myself about halfway wondering if I would ever care at all for how the story would end or what would happen. Turns out, I never did. But I still admired the authors wri
Viv JM
3.5 stars

Salt Creek tells the story of the British Finch family and their experience in 1850s Southern Australia. It is a tale of considerable hardship, brought about by a combination of the poor decisions of the patriarchal Mr Finch and the realities of a harsh landscape.

The story itself raises a lot of issues around race and colonialism, as well as the different roles and expectations of men and women of that era, but manages for the most part not to be too preachy although was occasionally r
Mar 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
An excellent, immersive novel about a family's hardships in South Australia in the mid 1800s. Salt Creek vividly delineates the conflict between the whites and the Ngarrindjeri as well as conflicts within the Finch home. This novel is character driven without much action, yet kept me riveted throughout. I felt such affinity to Hester Finch, the narrator, and her determination to avoid her mother's fate of "losing herself" in a life dominated by a man. ...more
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I saw this book on a friends tbr pile I knew it was exactly my kind of read. Historical literary fiction set in a bleak and harsh alien wilderness with its attendant dangers, brings the opportunity to step back in time and slip into someone else’s shoes and I wasn’t disappointed with the time travel experience this beautifully written, wonderful, haunting novel presented.

Salt Creek begins in England in the 1870s where Hetty is reminiscing about the years she spent living in the Cooron
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an accomplished first novel by a mature writer. I appreciated so much about it. Firstly, the setting in the Coorong (SA) was so well described. The Coorong, a saltwater lagoon and coastal dune ecosystem is well known to travellers between Melbourne and Adelaide. It is often bleak and windswept. It is also a place of amazing light and still a true wilderness. The Finch family, having settled there in the 1850s, experience the Coorong as a place of great loneliness and physical hardship. F ...more
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Lucy Treloar was born in Malaysia and educated in Melbourne, England and Sweden. A graduate of the University of Melbourne and RMIT, Lucy is a writer and editor and has plied her trades both in Australia and in Cambodia, where she lived for a number of years.

Her short fiction has appeared in Sleepers, Overland, Seizure, and Best Australian Stories 2013 and her non fiction in The Age, Meanjin, Wom

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“And then we came here, all through Papa's choices, his risks, because of him. One day I will leave here, and it will not be with another man or because of a man. Men make so free with the lives of others and judge themselves so little when things go awry. Where does it come from? How could I respect such a person?” 1 likes
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