Hilda Bridges

Wood’s Farm. Undated. C9505. W. E. L. H. Crowther Collection. Tasmanian Archives.
Wood’s Farm is Hilda Bridge’s account of two intertwined lives (hers and her brother, Roy’s) and of the two decades she and Roy spent restoring the family farm at Sorell. A relatively short work that ends on hopeful note – ‘realism, with my usual inclination for comedy’ is how Hilda describes it in an undated letter to her friend, William Crowther – Wood’s Farm was written not for the public (the typescript remains unpublished) but rather, as Hilda suggests in her letter, for pleasure and posterity. (Annotated Bibliography)

Roy Bridges

Green Butterflies. Hutchinson & Co., 1923.
In spirit and setting, then, [Roy] Bridges’ oeuvre is orientated towards Tasmania – Marcus Clarke’s Tasmania, that is, the “great cruel prison,” as a character in Green Butterflies puts it (30). Near the beginning of that novel, the protagonist, a young woman named Esther Wane, implores a visiting Englishman, with whom she has fallen in love, to “take me out of my prison, this island” (84). He does not, and Esther, the daughter of a free settler, becomes the wife – and virtual captive – of a local man she detests. (Exegesis)

‘Of course. I’m no filler-steen. I still remember your other books, especially the one about following in your family’s footsteps. Whenever I see a butterfly I think of those shoes, and the way they didn’t fit the girl at the end. It gives me hope.’ (Thesis)

A Mirror of Silver. Hutchinson & Co., 1927.
In 1927, Royal ‘Roy’ Bridges published his nineteenth novel, A Mirror of Silver, a horror story in which four generations of an English family are haunted by the ghosts they see in an old mirror. As the action nears its climax, Dave, the last in the family line, recalls how he ‘peered into the bluish-green depth of the glass—and saw the faces . . . . So like his own face—somehow. But not his face . . .’ (216). (Exegesis)

One Hundred Years: The Romance of the Victorian People. Herald & Weekly Times, 1934.
In 1934, he [Bridges] published One Hundred Years: The Romance of the Victorian People, about which one reviewer observed that “[h]is purpose is not formal history, but a tribute to the people whom chiefly he admires among Australians” (“One Hundred Years” 34). (Exegesis)

That Yesterday Was Home. Australasian Publishing Company, 1948.
In That Yesterday Was Home, Roy Bridges tells the story of his mother’s family, one of the first (free) English families to settle in Van Diemen’s Land, and of their farm, Woods, at Sorell. In it Roy also gives a history of his own life – from his idyllic but insular upbringing in Hobart to his reluctant return to Woods in middle age – as well as a lively history of Tasmania’s colonial past. (Annotated Bibliography)

League of the Lord. Australasian Publishing Company, 1950.
Bridges’ final book, The League of the Lord, expresses his view of Tasmania as a “prison island” (356). In it, the place is portrayed as a place of pain and suffering. Martin, the protagonist, has been unjustly transported to Van Diemen’s Land. Degraded by his sentence and by the penal system, he is unable to free himself from the past so that he can become “his own man again” (357). This, in Martin’s opinion, is the fate of the island itself. As the novel closes, Martin calls for more than the end of transportation. He wants “[a]n end to England, here!” (352) (Exegesis)