The third novel of The Coloured Sands Trilogy. This is the story of the secret family that Phillip Parry, son and heir to the great Jooloonga Station had hidden away for twenty years.
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Coloured Sands Trilogy
Coloured Sands Trilogy
The Tan People - a journey into truth.
This is the third book of the Coloured Sands Trilogy. The characters from the first two novels, Coloured Sands and Valley of the Eagle are joined in this novel with dramatic impact.
1973: Phillip Parry, son and heir of the great Jooloonga station uses his Cessna like a car. The coming of the secret family creates a furore that will test them all. This is the story of Susannah Ruth aged 18, her siblings and beautiful mother Colleen, who are suddenly thrust into the limelight of wealth and recognition after twenty years in hiding.
Suddenly, the vivacious Susannah is in love with Douglas Clarke of the neighboring Wandara Station. Phillip Parry is furious. Invading memories reiterate on the once notorious neighbors with speculation of cattle duffing, illegitimate children and sinister rumours surrounding Benjamin’s young sister, Annie, who was dead at 16.
These English neighbors are now wealthy and somewhat respectable but Phillip will not give in. He is aware that the half brother, son of the Aboriginal servant Josie by Benjamin Clarke’s immoral father, is a famous football hero, loved and renowned by the nation but he is not impressed. His daughter is hopelessly in love with the handsome, charismatic illegitimate brother of the aristocrat, a man twice her age and there is little he can do about it.
Old journals and diaries connect the families with a fanfare of stunning revelations that blaze a quicksilver trail through all their lives.
The 1974 floods decimate inland Queensland. Phillip and Colleen’s twin daughters are saved from drowning by the stalwart Martin, the eldest son who bears an uncanny resemblance to Matriarch Emily’s first love. Douglas is missing. Divers are called to search the mystical, bottomless lake. Susannah Ruth is pregnant. She disappears into the skies aboard the Boeing 747.
A shocking journey into truth changes lives while the magic of the Dreaming controls the heartbeat of an Ancient Land where sandstone walls reach for the sky and bottle trees mark the plains – a sacred timeless place of ancient folklore where the tribes one gathered – a stunning story of amazing love and tormented souls, spanning two continents.
From Chapter 5.
The family visit the Secret Gorge.
Banjo mounted his stocky black gelding and they rode to the entrance of the track that led to the plateau above. Only Ruth noticed the three-saddled ponies tethered to a rail beside the cottage waiting for oncoming visitors. She looked across the plains towards Moorooba and Wandara where the spiralling dust indicated a vehicle travelling towards the Valley.
Banjo rode around a boulder to reach the entrance, which was only wide enough for one horse. The Parry family followed in single file.
Martin was right behind Banjo. ‘Whoever found this path Banjo? It is impossible to spot from the outside.’
Banjo turned his head. ‘Yeah Martin, I’m always asked that. Annie Clarke discovered it when she was chasing a dingo. That ol’ dingo escaped in here and she followed him all the way to the top, and was so excited by her discovery, she plum forgot to shoot ‘em.’
The party all heard Banjo’s response as his words bounced off the boulders. They looked skywards at the shrill call of the Wedge-tailed eagle floating above them. The clip-clop of the ponies resounded in their ears as the curling track had a life of its own, abruptly plunging downwards, then twisting upwards towards the plateau at the next turn.
Geckoes spied on them from crevices, and rock wallabies balancing on boulders were unafraid as they twitched their noses and pricked their ears, before hopping further aloft.
Jason, riding between his mother and father squealed at a carpet python that had swung around the rocks above their heads and dangled as though to make his presence known.
‘He’s just an old carpet snake being friendly,’ Phillip assured him, but after that Jason keep his eyes warily on the rock walls. All noticed the eagle was still in view.
‘Banjo, why is that eagle following us,’ Rebecca asked in a loud voice.
‘That Wedge-tail, him belon’ here. Tell yer about ‘em when we reach the top Becky.’ Banjo had remembered all their names after the initial introduction.
The rock walls closed in to an eerie stillness before they reached the top, the only noise being the ponies’ hooves. The silence was shattered as a flock of galahs screeched into the air as Banjo’s horse stepped onto the plateau. They swung in a circle, their bodies twisting into a wavering pink satin scarf, skimming over the treetops as they disappeared. This sent all manner of birds into vocal collaboration as though delivering their serenade to the entourage assembling before them.