Anderson’s Jo starts in Gippsland, Victoria. Jo Wilson’s sickly mother dies on a little farm she had only arrived at as a servant-maid a few days earlier. Jo, aged four or five, appears to be an orphan now. John Anderson, a neighbouring widower, adopts her. He has a housekeeper, Mrs Collins. Jo goes to live with them at the successful Peak Farm, in the hill country.
Jo has a very sunny disposition and cheers John up, driving his unsociableness away with her delightful nature. Her chief sorrow in life is that she wasn’t born a boy!
Years pass, and when she’s 12, Jo becomes a weekly boarder at a good private school in Highfield, 20 miles away.
“I’d like anywhere with you and Colly,” she said. Suddenly she was alarmed. “What about the horses? You wouldn’t sell Prince and Dandy, would you, John?”
“Not unless I sold you, too,” he said laughing. “And who’d buy my worthless Jo-boy?”
“I don’t suppose you’d get a single bid for me,” she said, with surprising meekness. She sighed heavily. ” ‘Cause everybody would say I’d been so horribly badly trained!”
“We’ll tell Colly that, you monkey!” said John. “There she is, waiting for you. I wonder how many times Colly comes out to look for the car on Friday afternoons!”
But not everyone wishes Jo well, and it seems as if her real father may still be alive and looking for her. She wants to stay with John, though, and they flee to Tasmania.
The Trustee of The Mary Grant Bruce Family Trust owns the extant copyrights on this story
First Published in: 1928
First Publisher: Cornstalk Publishing Company
Places First Published: Sydney