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By: Michael Franklin-Harris

An Australian Odyssey

Pages: 182 Ratings:
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This book is the story of an epic journey around Australia undertaken by two adventurous British seniors, Michael and Dawn Franklin-Harris. Their inherent love of nature and wildlife, the people, and the vast sweep of natural history, is plainly obvious in this recorded account of travels in this fascinating country. The duration of the tours described in the book covers four months and six months, coinciding with two consecutive English winters. They were to drive close to 20,000 km in the 10 months they were in Australia, covering north to south and east to west, on this large and varied continent. They were told afterwards by many locals that they had seen more of Australia than many Australians would see in their lifetime.

Despite their age, their past life and experiences had made them eminently suited to take on and record such a journey. Dawn had left England in late 1963 with her first husband and young family on an assisted passage scheme to arrive in Australia in 1964. They spent eight years moving around following the work, periodically returning to their base in Queensland where they settled for a time before finally returning to the U.K. Her love of the country and its people never left her, and she always longed to return under different circumstances to her first experience. With Michael retired, that opportunity presented itself.

Michael had been a Precision Service Engineer, driving on average 35,000 miles per year, both in the U.K. and abroad. Like Dawn, he had a passion for life and new experiences. With his deep interest in literature, he was no stranger to the written word and had published many essays in the U.K., France, and the U.S.A.

Michael Franklin-Harris was born in London in 1936. When four months old, he was taken to Buckinghamshire and placed in the care of a guardian, where he remained until his 15th birthday. Michael then went to live with his father in Cheshire. He completed an engineering apprenticeship and later served his term of national service in the REME. On release from the military, Michael returned to Buckinghamshire to join a Swiss precision engineering company as a service engineer and represented them in the USA, Russia and many countries in Europe as an installation specialist. While in Buckinghamshire, he became interested in history and the natural world on which subjects he wrote several essays for local publications. It was during this period that he and Dawn met.


His burgeoning literary interests took off when by chance he met and was befriended by Kenneth Hopkins in England and later Professor Howard McCord in the USA. His philosophical essay, ‘The Genesis of an Understanding,’ struck a chord with the proprietor of Carrefour Publishing, Daphne Fraenkel, that led to a friendship which lasted until her death in 1991. At that time, Michael wrote her obituary for The Guardian newspaper. It was revealed she had made him her literary executor and, as such, custodian of Carrefour archives, which included letters to her late husband, Michael Fraenkel, from such people as Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Lawrence Durrell, Eric Blair (George Orwell), etc. The time was right for a collaboration with Alyscamps Press, Paris, to release several of Michael Frankel’s books for which the author wrote several essays. He was also asked to contribute to various publications in the USA. Dawn and Michael have been together for over 40 years. They now live in east Cheshire, UK, on the edge of the Peak District National Park. It was Dawn’s love of Australia that inspired the two trips to that country and the preparation of the manuscript for this book. Having both been married previously, they have shared five children, nine grandchildren and at the last count, eleven great grandchildren.

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