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United Books

Minnie - Marianne van Velzen

Minnie - Marianne van Velzen

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'Destined to become an outback classic' Liz Harfull

People always asked her if she was ever afraid, living out in the desert alone with all those rough and scruffy men, but Minnie Berrington was not the faint-hearted type and never had been. Being tough came naturally to her, growing up with three brothers and a family that went from riches to ruins.

Only a slip of a girl, Minnie could match any man in stamina, perseverance and strength. She arrived in Coober Pedy when essential supplies still arrived by camel, and water was so scarce no-one washed. Together with the other miners, she braved the heat, the flies and the dust. Every day she waited for that special sound the pick made when it cracked opal.

The first woman to dig her own shafts in the Australian opal fields, Minnie began her working life as a typist in London. But she and her younger brother Victor sought freedom and adventure in the 1920s and found plenty of it in the outback.

'Minnie brings to life a gutsy, independent woman living a remarkable but simple life in the harshest of conditions.' Juliet Wills, author of The Diamond Dakota Mystery

'Through enthralling descriptions of the countryside and of the emotions of characters, Marianne van Velzen describes a fascinating life in an enchanting way.' George Paxinos, neuroscientist and author of A River Divided

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