The Houses of the Eagle was one of Mary Grant Bruce’s favourite books, and it is one of her best.
Although set in Victoria, this story features a family from Tasmania, the Brownes. They have four children: Monica, aged 14; Godfrey, 3; John, 7; and Elizabeth—
Elizabeth, two years (John’s) junior, being five, bade fair to be the beauty of the Browne family. She was a dainty, elf-like creature, crowned with a halo of short golden curls, and bearing, in her infrequent moments of repose, the expression usually attributed to cherubs. In no way did she live up to the impression just conveyed. Her father was wont to say that the beauties of Elizabeth’s character were only noticeable while she slept: to which Godfrey had added: “And she’s got to be jolly sound asleep, too!”
Mr Browne works in the bank at Mallee Flat, in the semi-desert north-west of Victoria, where there’s a drought. But then something wonderful happens. The Bank transfers him to Baringa, near the coast. The family want to live in nearby Port Namba, and they set off in their ancient Ford car, Lizzie, with their fox-terrier dog, Digger. Elizabeth sees the sea for the first time in her life.
They rent ‘Nairana’, which is one of a pair of houses. The other being ‘Koirunah’, where lives Miss Hester Carew, who owns both places, with her old maid, Agatha. And then the adventures begin . . .
The Trustee of The Mary Grant Bruce Family Trust owns the extant copyrights to this story.
First Published in: 1925
First Publisher: Ward, Lock & Co. Limited
Places First Published: London and Melbourne