Quarter Acre Block could be described as the quintessential biography of tens of thousands of British families who took that incredible decision to escape dour, cold, wet, post-war Britain and head down-under to the land of opportunity, the "lucky" country, the sun, the sea and the sand that Australia had to offer. Known as "Ten Pound Poms" (the cost of the fare to Australia), these immigrants were the first wave to repopulate Australia after the losses of two world wars. Whereas many of these "ten pound Poms", would head to the Eastern States and Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, our family, The Palmers found themselves opting for the relatively new and bustling city of Perth in Western Australia.
I don't know if this was a semi-memoir on the author's part, but it certainly read like one. Regardless, it was a fascinating read as we were privy to some of the fears, the loneliness and the problems faced by new immigrants to the barely developed suburbs of Perth. The story itself only covers one year of the Palmer's life - their first year in Australia and yet we learn so much about what was probably a very typical immigrant family; Mum, Dad and the four kids. For the kids, it was all about adventure, exploring new things and making new friends, but for Mum and Dad, it was a little harder. George, the father first had to find work and support his brood, but for Mum Helen, there was the loneliness, the homesickness, and the struggle to make new friends and relationships that was the difficulty.
It does me good to read about real-life people, with real life struggles that I can identify with, from time to time and that is one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much. I guess if there was one thing I would have liked to have seen, it would have been a few pictures of those early days in Perth. I read the ebook and as there doesn't seem to be a paperback version, perhaps I could recommend the author considers one and includes a few pictures of Perth in the 1960's. I really enjoyed the read and could readily identify with all the members of the Palmer family. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about real-life struggles and real people. A good job Janet Gogerty and four good stars from this reviewer.