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Seven Little Australians (Woolcots, #1)
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Seven Little Australians (The Woolcots #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  3,693 Ratings  ·  170 Reviews
19th century Australia: Captain Woolcot, having lost his wife tragically young, remarried a much younger young woman to provide his six children with a new mother. Together, they had another child, making seven. The Captain felt it was necessary to run the family with army discipline, but his rules and regulations were no match for the fun loving children, led by the redou ...more
Hardcover, 152 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by Indy Publish (first published 1894)
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ErinGrace11101999 The first time I attempted to read this book, I was about nine years old. I couldn't quite get into it then, so I forgot about it for many years.
The first time I attempted to read this book, I was about nine years old. I couldn't quite get into it then, so I forgot about it for many years.
I picked the book up at age fifteen and I loved it. It is most certainly the book that is the nearest and dearest to my heart. I relate to both Meg and Judy so much.
I am now sixteen, and I have read this book over eight times in the past six months. Something about the style of writing is really comforting and soothing. It is also a nice quick read too (only 173 pages in length, though that may just be my copy).
As long as you can appreciate and/or understand old timely language, there's really no age limit, so to speak. Though I personally wouldn't recommend it for the under-eight crowd. It's far too grown-up and complex for them.(less)

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This book has never been out of print since it was published in 1894. Undoubtedly the story holds a special place in the hearts of many generations of Australians. It is indeed a classic. Having said that, I must confess that I was a tad underwhelmed by it.

While written in 1894, this is a surprisingly modern book in many ways. Turner's prose is lively, fresh, immediate and direct. Some of the passages could have been written yesterday. How like a 21st century family are the Woolcots, with their
Sep 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australian, childrens

The book begins.

Before you fairly start this story I should like to give you just a word of warning.

If you imagine you are going to read of model children, with perhaps, a naughtily inclined one to point a moral, you had better lay down the book immediately and betake yourself to 'Sandford and Merton' or similar standard juvenile works. Not one of the seven is really good, for the very excellent reason that Australian children never are.

Sigh. It's true, it's true.

Pop Bop
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Sparkling, Jolly, and Tender

If you're an American browsing through odd Kindle freebies, as I was, you might be surprised to discover that this book is a gem and a treat. Published in 1894, "Seven Little Australians" is considered a classic, if not the classic, of Australian children's novels. I understand that at least as of 1994 this book was the only novel by an Australian author to have been continuously in print for 100 years.

So, does it live up to that intro? Yes.

The story is simple enough
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century, ebook
Seven Little Australians is an excellent children's novel that isn't just for children! I loved the characters because they were so real. The Woolcot family consists of Captain Woolcot, his six children from his first marriage (ages 4-16), his second wife (Esther, age 20), and their 1-year-old son. The step-mother's youthfulness added an interesting element to the family dynamic.

I might have given this book five stars, but the ending is unnecessarily tragic, and it seemed like the author didn't
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seven Little Australians is the first of the Woolcot Family series by Australian novelist Ethel Turner. Set in the late 19th century, it details a few months in the lives of Captain John Woolcot, his young (20 years old) wife Esther and their family at their house, Misrule, up the Parramatta River. There were six children he had by his first, now dead, wife: Meg(Marguerite), 16, Pip (Phillip), 14, Judy (Helen), 13, Nellie, 10, Bunty, 6, and Baby, 4, and his and Esther’s baby, the General (Franci ...more
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
No 2 in my attempt to get through some Australian kids' literature. This was an attempt to be highly realistic and was a bit tragic. No romanticization. Some lovely descriptions of both suburban and rural life in early 20th century.
Aug 22, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Natasha Lester
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book aloud, a chapter a night, to my four and a half and six and a half year old daughters. When I began reading the first chapter, I thought that they might not choose the book again the following night. The language is obviously somewhat old-fashioned - the book was published in 1894 after all. But as Ethel Turner writes, she addresses the reader - she is telling the story to them. The book begins, 'Before you fairly start this story I should like to give you just a word of warning ...more
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a charming little novel, but very much a product of its time.

Chapters in the beginning read almost like a serial, with each chapter containing a small, self-contained little narrative with uncomplicated complications and neat resolutions that lead into the next chapter with ease. However, as the book progresses, the stories elongate and spread across multiple chapters leading to a tragic - but not unpredictable - end.

With a large cast, she at times struggles to differentiate the charac
Thom Swennes
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
The more the merrier I thought as I started reading Seven Little Australians. Six of the children are from the first marriage of an army captain. After his wife’s death he remarries a girl of nineteen. The soon have another child of their own and the family moved into a fine home and tried to lead a serine and peaceful life. I stress the word “tried” as the children (like probably most siblings) were constantly bickering among themselves. The children ranged in age from 17 years to under a year. ...more
Nov 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I re-read this today for my children's literature course and was surprised by what a brute the Captain (their father) is - I never really noticed it when I read it as a child. He's awful. He makes it perfectly clear that he doesn't like or understand his children and considers spending any time at all with them on par with having teeth pulled. When Judy makes him look after the youngest alone for an hour he's so mad he sends her off to boarding school despite the protests and tears of the entire ...more
Fatima Azhar
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Broke my heart.
When I started reading this book, I had a sudden surge of nostalgia. It is very similar to books I used to read when I was a kid. This book focuses on family, sibling relationships and naughty children. (i.e. Naughtiest Girl, Nanny McPhee etc). And how the cleverest one among them "Judy" is considered to be the instigator of mischief (she usually is). All the kids have different personalities and different ways of dealing with things.
The 19 year old wife seems to love the kids an
What a gorgeous story. I'm glad I didn't resist my urge to buy this edition at the bookshop the other day...
I think I must have seen the miniseries when I was quite small because I remembered the ending (although absolutely nothing else).
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Somewhat like E. Nesbit's stories until the last couple of chapters in which Gloom and Despair replace the sweet little adventures (which are a bit boring, but still), causing the author, as he says, to simply give up in sorrow ... so not much of a denouement or ending. In fact, the ending reminded me of the opera Xerxes: everything is going along at a reasonable pace, and then it's like someone looked at his watch and said, "Okay, people, let's wrap this up in the next five minutes!" and that's ...more
Sean Kennedy
Man, the father was an unsympathetic prick in this book. He singles out one of his daughters as being the chief instigator of troubles in the family, ships her off to boarding school, is going to send her back but then a tree falls on her and kills her, and then he's all "oh, this is terrible". Buddy, you were a terrible father and the six little Australians that are left should keep you in the dungeon and never let you out.
Oh, I made myself sad.
An Australian classic which is enjoyable despite the harsh father who is like Captain von Trapp without the charm.
Apr 13, 2018 added it
Shelves: favorite, children
I really enjoyed the time that I spend reading this book. I liked how the characters were and how true they were. I have to admit that i thought at first that this would be just as all children books. Because i did not thought that the book would end like that and would finished this wonderful, adventurous time but it also showed how life is with its ups and downs. 5/5
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
A Victorian-era Australian classic, Seven Little Australians charts the trials, tribulations and other miscellaneous adventures of a group of siblings growing up in 1880s Sydney. This was another one that didn’t quite live up to my childhood memories. I loved the historical setting and the idea of the big, rowdy family of uncontrollable but loveable brats. In reality however the book isn’t long enough to do justice to all of the characters, and most of the little Australians are two-dimensional ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I think I would have enjoyed this story a lot more if I read this at a much younger age. This is, of course, one of those classic books that everyone (or at least most Aussies) would have read in school that I have missed out on, being an immigrant. But I am catching up!

It was an easy story to read and enjoy on a fine weekend. In between, we went to a birthday picnic where children were indulged in sugar-y goodness and lots of play in the sun. So, I had the same sort of image in my head when I w
When my mother saw that I was reading this book, her first reaction was "Oh, I remember that. It's so sad!" But she did like it (as a TV miniseries, I don't know if she actually read the book). When I told my grandmother I just finished reading it, she said she loved the series as well.

This book is not my genre. I'm a YA and/or sci-fi fantasy reader and writer. It felt like a comment on that particular time in Australia's history. Not that it gave a very Australian history lesson. It did however
Dec 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: die hard aussie historical fiction fans, sad growing up stories fans,
Shelves: australia, abandoned
I have to admit, I didn't like it.

It was charming at first as the children are rambunctious and full of spirit. Nonetheless, the book didn't pull me into their world. The entire time I was envisioning the Von Trapp Family except without the singing: the military distant father, a bunch of children, a wife so young she's practically the older daughter's age and one of the children (the 8th little Australian?)....

The Von Trapp family from "The Sound of Music"

Don't get me wrong, I like the simila
James Perkins
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
As an Australian, I was supposed to read this book as a child. I didn't. I am also supposed to like it. I don't. There are too many people to follow to get any feel for characterisation. The writing style is antiquated and often hard to read because of the odd vocabulary and turns of phrase. After announcing the differences between Australians and the British at the start, the story then outlines the behaviour of any children, who only happen to live in the Australian countryside; they could be ...more
Heather Pearson
Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Set in Sydney, Australia in 1880's, seven children get into all sorts of mischief even though they are trying their best to behave. Ranging in ages from sixteen to one year, the Woolcot children are mostly left to their own devices. Their step-mother Esther, the birth mother of only the youngest, is just twenty and has no experience with children. Their father is a military man and expects his children to behave and only to show up when he expects them to.

I have been wanting to read this book fo
I read this over twenty years ago as a teenager. Didn't think much of it then, so I think it's time I had another look to see if I can change my mind.

2015 Update Well apparently my reading tastes have changed little in the nearly thirty years since I was a teenager, although I now have a clearer idea why I don't enjoy certain books. In this case, my dislike of this book doesn't stem from the quality of writing, but rather the characterisations and plot. As a teen reader I think I found the child
Finitha Jose
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thought I have grown out of reading children's books, but we never will be. More so when the story line concerns with seven naughty ones. But be warned, these are not the peppermint children of 'Sound of Music' for the "very excellent reason that Australian children never are". Even their house bears the name 'Misrule' and that is what the story is all about; the little anarchist kingdom that runs behind a military strict father and their subsequent growth to maturity through sometimes painful e ...more
Lisa T
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Well, it wasn't godawful, but it was still too Enid Blytony, let's get belted by father and then have a picnic type of book for me to ever want to read it again. Granted, I'm not the target audience, although I'd find it hard to believe that children of this era would really take to it either. But yeah ... not a lot to say about this one. The characters weren't interesting (wild-child Judy is okay, I guess), their shenanigans weren't amusing - actually, the dad yelling that everyone was "demente ...more
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Gwen by: website for Louisa May Alcott's house in Concord MA
Shelves: ya-fiction
This book feels like a cross between Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (for the descriptions of sibling relations), Freckles (for the ending), and The Sound of Music. I don't know nearly enough about Australian frontier life (although somehow I feel like it takes place close-ish to Sydney) in this time period to be able to judge the accuracy of Turner's take on Australian family life, but I'm not sure I'd either read more in the series or recommend it to other fans of children's/YA literatur ...more
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Play Book Tag: Seven Little Australians - 3 *** for me... 3 17 May 04, 2018 03:58PM  
Around the Year i...: Seven Little Australians, by Ethel Turner 2 18 Feb 10, 2016 10:34PM  
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Born in England in 1870, Ethel Turner came to Australia with her mother and sisters when she was 10 years old. She showed a great love of literature while at school and in her late teens launched a literary and social magazine in Sydney with her sister Lilian Turner. Ethel kept diaries for a remarkable 62 years, recording the details of her full and eventful life. In January 1893 she recorded in h ...more
More about Ethel Turner

Other books in the series

The Woolcots (4 books)
  • The Family at Misrule (Woolcots, #2)
  • Little Mother Meg (Woolcots, #3)
  • Judy and Punch (Woolcots, #4)

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“None of the seven is really good, for the excellent reason that Australian children never are.” 16 likes
“and then ah God” 2 likes
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