The ends of the earth

Featured in

  • Published 20100601
  • ISBN: 9781921656163
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

LASTING A GOOD part of a minute, the sound was akin to the roar of two hundred horse carriages furiously ridden over cobblestones, writes James Palmer, surveyor of the newest southern colony, in January 1839. I made inquiries of one of the natives who indicated there have been previous earthquakes of similar nature in these parts. However, it was impossible to ascertain their frequency or severity, were I to believe him.

I frown beneath the shuddering roof of the tent, wondering if the earthquake has struck the area my husband, the surveyor, and his men have been engaged to map. I remain pinned to the bed, blinking at the dark, listening. Dogs are barking. People call out. Some have lit lamps with which to inspect the tents, the provisions store and the newly laid foundations of the hospital. Slowly I reach for the Bible I keep wrapped in a white linen cloth with my diary. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at

Share article

About the author

Emma Ashmere

Emma Ashmere lives in northern New South Wales. She holds a PhD in English from La Trobe University investigating the use of marginalised histories...

More from this edition

Still here

FictionENORMOUS THINGS ARE in the water now. Bull sharks roll below the surface and carp with whiskers like whips slip under the house. A...

The politics of prosperity

Essay‘Luck always seems to be against those who depend on it.'THIS IS A lucky country. The challenge is to keep it lucky, and the...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.