by W. E. Johns



2.         SUNDOWN AT WALLABULLA  (Pages 24 – 36)


A week later a blue painted Desoutter Coupe, a single-engined cabin monoplane, lands at Wallabulla.  The three girls find the homestead, “a long, low, timber-built house with a rusty corrugated iron roof, the whole in a generally bad state of repair”.  They also find the door open and the building in a right mess as if people have been living in it.  Janet says she didn’t leave it like that.  Janet explains how her Aunt used to make a living by farming sheep and also hunting Dingoes.  The Government would pay a pound for a Dingo scalp as it proved it was dead.  The girls clean the place up, “no woman could leave a room in this mess”, and when they have finished three men arrive.  “Two white men and a black”.  Worrals has a confrontation with the men.  They say they are living there and Worrals says they aren’t now.  The leader of the men is a red-haired man with a moustache and beard.  He says “This place ain’t fit for girls” and this is the cover picture on the book.  Worrals tells them they are trespassing and they had better leave and the men turn and leave.  Worrals is convinced they know something about the opals and that is why the men are there.  “I’m beginning to take a different view of several things – your Aunt Mary’s sudden death and Charlie’s disappearance, for instance”.  Frecks is worried about their aircraft but Worrals thinks that initially it will be safe as the men want them to leave and without the aircraft they couldn’t.  Janet says that Aunt Mary’s Dingo hunting rifle is in the store pantry if they need it.  “We’ll bear it in mind,” said Worrals casually.