Girt: The unauthorised History of Australia __ Book Review


courtesy  Booktopia

David Hunt’s history of Australia Girt is the funniest book I have read in a long while. In a similar vein to the writings of Bill Bryson Hunt takes the historical truth and writes it in a way that makes you laugh out loud. This is the first book in a very long while that I could not help but read passages out loud to my husband who has decided that he too will now read the book. His style, wit and language make this book a joy to read.

The book starts with the discovery of Australian and why most of those who are credited with first discovering it did not at all and at the fascination of the Dutch for nailing kitchen plates to posts. He finishes with Governor Macquarie in the early 1800s. Thankfully a seccond book has been written that will take us further along in history.

Hunt describes the book as revealing  Australia’s past – “from Megafauna to Macquarie — the cock-ups and the curiosities, the forgotten eccentrics and Eureka moments that have made us who we are.” I totally agree with this description.

Throughout the book he offers footnotes which are explanatory asides. For example in a section talking of our founding felons he mentioned that having asked for breeding women he was given a 70 year old cheese thief called Elizabeth Beckford. At this point a footnote was attached and it read ” Many first fleet convicts stole food to ward off starvation. William Edmunds was transported for stealing a cow, while Thomas Eccles was exiled for filching bacon and two loaves of bread. If Elizabeth Beckford had joined forces with these criminal masterminds, the cheese and bacon burger would have been invented 140 years earlier.” (p103)

Being an Australian I knew the history that was contained within the pages and I don’t know whether it would lose the deeper meanings for those reading who did not have both that knowledge and a knowledge of current Australia, but I think the humour, typically Australian, would be universal. Although at times Hunt is not politically correct he is at no time being nasty and he leaves no-one untouched with his tongue in cheek humour.

I would highly recommend this book and can’t wait to read the sequel True Girt.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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20 Responses to Girt: The unauthorised History of Australia __ Book Review

  1. lifelessons says:

    Darn.. It wouldn’t take my comment. Let’s see if this works…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Judy. Hope you are okay with the earthquake that hit Mexico. Thinking of you and hope you are safe.
      I hate it when that happens and it is not that infrequent.


      • lifelessons says:

        Thanks, Irene.. and don’t mean to be insulting about the book. Different narrators appeal to different people..I did enjoy the content, but even the sound they chose to signal footnotes made me cringe–the sound of a whip to remind us of all the floggings??? I am getting increasingly sensitive to violence in my “nether” years–ha.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes the floggings would have driven me mad too. I don’t take it personally. I have long learnt that we have different likes and dislikes when it comes to reading (and in this case listening) that I value other opinions but do not find it takes away from what I thought. In this case though with the audio we are on the same wave length.


      • lifelessons says:

        Good. I had actually thought I was making that comment about the narrator to Marilyn, not you. After I hit the send button and saw I’d sent it to you, I was so embarrassed. It felt so ungracious to fire that back at you after you’d recommended the book. But, all’s well that ends well.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. lifelessons says:

    Oh, now it works when it erased my 6 sentence comment. Good work, WordPress. What I said was that upon reading your recommendation, I rushed right over to Audible to buy the narrated book, but unfortunately, although I love the content of the book as described by you, David Hunt narrates it himself and has the most irritating voice and narrating style! Guess I’ll have to bite the bullet and buy the print version, which I rarely do for a variety of reasons, including the fact that I normally wear out my eyes on the computer giving me an adequate excuse to listen rather than read. I also love double-tasking, i.e. listening to books in the studio, kitchen, while driving or while waiting to fall asleep. At any rate, I trust your judgment and so will order the book forthwith. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. macmsue says:

    Will definitely see if I can find that one in the library, sounds like a fun read.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Canada and Australia have similar experiences (pioneering and trying to eventually break away from Mother England). This book sounds like a good read!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds like a great book, Irene, and your review caused me to add it to my TBR list. I like the idea of some humor thrown in to a history book. Most of them are deadly with seriousness.
    (Now see what you made me do!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. macmsue says:

    Have just finished it and loved it, I can’t remember the last book that had me laughing out loud. Now that I’ve handed it on to my husband I hear him chuckling. Having just read some of “The Australians” series it was interesting, to me, to compare the depiction of characters such as Bligh and Macarthur,

    Liked by 1 person

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