' The Ragman's Serenade tells the story of four families- one from North Shields and the other three from Wallsend. It is a story of relationships- The Davis family are up to their eyes in debt - The Stewart family have a daughter who has downs syndrome– The hagarths who’s husband owns a bookmakers shop and his wife is a midwife at the RVI- and the Higginbottom's have a father with the on set of Alzheimer's. How do they cope - read this fascinating story i'm sure you will enjoy.


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Henry Baylis formed the first police service in the town to up hold the law. “They were known as “Bushrangers” Baylis ended up getting himself shot by “Mad Dog Morgan. Captain Moonlite who was released from a gaol in 1979 for a robbery that took place in Egerton near (Ballarat). Captain Moonlite came looking for a job at Wantabadgery station but no one would employ him so he joined forces with Mad Dog Morgan.


They later returned and robbed the station and held 39 people hostage until one escaped and brought help from the bushrangers. A massive shootout occurred and Captain Moonlite escaped. However they were all caught later in Gundagai and were all hung. Another convict was the brother of Ned Kelly a cattle thief. He served four years in prison then on his release stole two horses. This time he was incarcerated for ten years. After his release Kelly mended his ways and became a respectable member of society until his death in 1946.

Before that there was a World War being fought and many settlers were still loyal to the King felt it was their duty to enlist. Wagga Wagga was used as a base for kangaroo marches which took place all over Australia as a recruitment scheme. Other loyal men joined the fight and the AIF was formed (Australian Imperial Forces) Nearly 2000 men left Wagga Wagga to fight for the British Empire.

John Ryan became the first to win a Victoria Cross for bravery during the Battle of the Hindenburg Line in 1918. Arguments erupted over conscription. There was a referendum and both were defeated. Wagga Wagga voted for conscription in 1916 but then changed their vote to against in 1917.

When the AIF returned from the War they brought with them Spanish influenza which killed many and brought the country to a virtual stand still. It wasn’t until the late 1920’s that the town began to pick up again and road and rail links were established. They even set up a telephone link. The place became known as “Tent Town” after the men brought in to build the roads and rail lines set up temporary campsites. In 1922 Hydro Electric power was introduced; they made from Electricity using water from the Burrinjuck Dam. Things were just starting to pick up when in 1928 the Great Depression started. There were hundreds of men out of work and the country suffered as a result. Jack Lang (Labour) formed a government. Proving popular with the people to begin with Lang formed rallies all over the country. However, In 1932 Jack Lang was dismissed from government.

By the start of WW2 Wagga Wagga became the key centre of defence and an air base was established there. Over 8.000 troops trained there. Sir Thomas Blamey became the highest ranking officer during the war. John Hurst Edmondson became the first man born in Wagga Wagga to win a Victoria Cross for action seen in Tobruk.

 In 1946 the war now ended saw Wagga Wagga become a city. Turvey Park, Mount Austin, and Kooringal were developed. By 1960 over 1,200 new homes were built to accommodate the residents there. More residents moved to Tolland and Lake Albert where new industries such as agricultural plants were set up near a place called Bomen. The main problem in the city came from flooding. In over 100 years the city had been flooded out many times. The government were looking at ways to divert the water away from the city.

Tom Davis put the book away after finishing it and then headed to his art class. He now had a fair idea of the place that he and his family were going to live. What he had read had not deterred his enthusiasm one little bit. He still wanted to go. He wondered whether his sister had managed to convince Carol Asiamah’s parents to allow her to come with them. 

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