Peter & Co. is the sequel to Told By Peter.
Peter and his sister Binkie, and their friends Clem and Tarry, are on holiday and go camping on an island just off the coast of North Queensland.
There are rumours of impending war. And there are suspicious Japanese boats.
What We Saw
“Peter! Look, there’s that white whale again!”
We all looked. Far out we could see it, a dull grey hump that moved slowly. Now and then it disappeared in the trough of a wave, but in a moment it would show again. There was no sign of any other whales.
“Could it be a cruising shark?” Tarry asked.
“I’ve never seen one as big—or showing so far out of the water,” Clem said. We strained our eyes, hoping it would come nearer. Suddenly Binkie burst out excitedly.
“Peter, that’s not a whale! I do believe it’s a submarine!”
“Oh, bosh!” I said. “Submarines here!—why you’re silly, Binks.”
“I’m not!” She pointed at the thing. “You watch—it’s rising higher out of the water. No whale ever had a hump like that. Look at it, can’t you? It’s getting bigger every second!”
We couldn’t see what she meant for a while, but I remembered that none of us have Binkie’s length of sight. She can see flying birds that simply don’t exist for me. We cupped out eyes with our hands, shutting out everything except the grey shape. And it grew bigger. Very slowly it rose, inch by inch it seemed, until we could see its great length on either side of the hump we had spotted at first, most fo the length being for’ard. There was no doubt about it—it was a submarine, all right.
“Gosh!” I uttered. “Can it be a German? But we aren’t at war.”
Tarry spoke, and her voice was grave. “Boys, we have no submarines, have we?”
“Not one,” I said. . .
Tomorrow, When The War Began
The contemporary Australian author, John Marsden, has acknowledged that this book was important to the development of his successful series about an invasion of Australia that commenced with Tomorrow, When The War Began that was made into a movie in 2010. The hero there, Ellie Linton, is named after the Lintons of ‘Billabong’.
The Trustee of The Mary Grant Bruce Family owns the extant copyrights to this story.
First Published in: 1940
First Publication: Ward, Lock & Co. Limited
Places First Published: London and Melbourne