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Fiction featuring Care Experience

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The Harp in the South

Ruth Park


The Harp in the South is the debut novel of New Zealand-born Australian author Ruth Park (1917-2010). Published in 1948, it portrays the life of an Irish Australian Catholic family living in Surry Hills, at that time an inner city slum area of Sydney.

Towards the end of her now classic novel, Ruth Park introduces 24-year-old Aboriginal Australian Charlie Rothe.

Charlie Rothe knows little of his background; he thinks his parents died when he was 7 as that’s the age he was ‘adopted’ by a bagman.

Charlie’s itinerant carer looked after him well as the pair travelled the roads of NSW, apprenticing him to a printer in Sydney at the age of 15 and then disappearing.

Charlie Rothe becomes a part of the Darcy family after he marries the eldest daughter, Rowena (Roie).

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