The Long Walk

Once again Kerry Greenwood has given us a brilliant novel that incorporates factual history and events to both entertain and educate.

The Long Walk, published in 2004, tells of a family of children who face being split up and placed into foster care when their mother becomes ill and is admitted to hospital.
Telling porkies to the authorities, the kids set out to find their father who is working on the construction of The Great Ocean Road, a considerable walk for anyone at anytime but even harder during the Great Depression when what little a person owns is priceless and few have the generosity to share.

But along the way they do find those who are willing to share what little they have and the arduous journey helps shape and change each child's character as they walk further into a maturity that was thrust, sometimes too early, onto young shoulders during this period of Australian history.

The Great Ocean Road was built, mainly by hand, with the hard work of men who were on the susso - an early form of work-for-the-dole. Many were returned soldiers from WW1 and this road was the only work many were able to get during this difficult time, with almost all of the small amount of money being sent home to wives and families the men hadn't seen for months while they lived in tent cities beside the road.
The official records of the Great Ocean Road construction were deliberately destroyed during WW2 but Kerry Greenwood has been able to source excellent facts and figures, as always, on this momentous road building endeavour.