This novel, written by two young women graduates of Sydney University, was the judges’ first choice in the Sydney Bulletin’s competition for the best novel submitted by an Australian author. Dominating the story is the personality of the ex-quartermaster, James Hyde. From the store he established on the waterfront at Sydney in 1837 develops the business, which assuming overwhelming proportions, drains the lifeblood of his family, whose attempts to escape its tentacles are fruitless. Through his energy and foresight the years of the gold rush bring increased prosperity-but they also heighten the tension under which the family lives. Then comes tragedy. Favorite grandson first, then the old man himself, then his son is swept away; and by the strange irony of fate there passes to the last remaining male Hyde a heritage that was never meant for him and a power that he has neither the wish nor ability to use. The great house has been build, but to what end?
Joint winner, The Bulletin Novel Competition, 1928