Australia’s Great War: 1917 by Kelly Gardiner

Australia’s Great War: 1917 by Kelly Gardiner (Scholastic Australia) 

Judges' Comments

Drawing on the author’s own family history, this is a story of a family in wartime — an Australian airman in the newly formed Australian Flying Corps, and his sister engaged on the home front in the political campaigns of 1917. The narrative engages the reader in correspondence between brother and sister, and descriptions of the ‘war in the air’ fought with biplanes over the fields of France and Belgium. We are given an outline of the conscription referendum in 1917, and careful reference is made to political figures including Archbishop Mannix, Vida Goldstein and Adela Pankhurst. Historical notes provide context for the events of 1917, while an acknowledgments section indicates the research carried out in Australia and on the battlefields and provides a guide to further reading.

Written with sensitivity and insight, this historical novel offers young readers an understanding of the First World War’s impact on families.