The Matilda Saga by Jackie French


The Matilda Saga is a series of five books, spanning seventy to eighty years. It starts with A Waltz For Matilda, set in 1894, and the most recent book, set during the Vietnam War, is The Ghost By the Billabong. The series chronicles the journey of Matilda and her descendants throughout the decades and across the Australian outback. They encapsulate the Australian bush culture and the experiences of the bush and the surrounding area, transporting readers to a world beyond what they know. The reading order, and a synopsis of each taken from the author’s website are below:

A Waltz For Matilda: In 1894, twelve-year-old Matilda flees the city slums to find her unknown father and his farm.
But drought grips the land, and the shearers are on strike. Her father has turned swaggie and the troopers want him. In front of his terrified daughter, he makes a stand against them, defiant to the last. ‘You’ll never catch me alive, said he…’
Set against a backdrop of bushfire, flood, war and jubilation, this is the story of one girl’s journey towards independence. It is also the story of others who had no vote and very little but their dreams. Drawing on the well-known poem by A.B. Paterson and from events rooted in actual history, this is the untold story behind Australia’s early years as an emerging nation.