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Australia Remembers 3 PB

Len Waters Boundless and Born to Fly

(3 customer reviews)
Authors: Catherine Bauer
01/Sep/2021
RAAF, History
60
Hardback
230mm x 260mm
9781922488602
$14.99

Len Waters may have been born behind the gates of an Aboriginal reserve, but his big imagination and even bigger dreams took him soaring well beyond the reach of those who tried to confine him.

Kamilaroi man Len Waters dreamed of taking to the skies. It was an unlikely dream at the time, but during WWII he beat the odds to become Australia’s first known Aboriginal fighter pilot.

Rules and restrictions controlled much of Len’s early life. Born in the 1920s, Len had a basic education and life was lacking in luxury. But Len had a sharp mind. He had a boundless work ethic. Len also had big dreams and a family who supported them. Australia Remembers 3: Len Waters – Boundless and Born to Fly takes readers on Len Waters’ soaring journey from making his home-made model aeroplanes at his kitchen table, to flying RAAF fighter jets in the south west Pacific in World War II.

Len was a history maker, a young man who didn’t let society’s prejudice, his culture or skin colour stand in his way. But when WWII was over, Len sadly discovered that his service and courage did not result in equality. Len once said that, out of his RAAF uniform, he simply ‘returned to being a black fellow’.

Today, decades later, Len’s determination and achievements are recognised and honoured across Australia.

Catherine Bauer

Catherine Bauer

Catherine Bauer is a journalist and writer from South Australia. She has worked as a news and political journalist and features writer, a government media adviser and currently works with the State Theatre Company South Australia. Her love of writing started as an eight-year-old where she wrote and illustrated her own book. She has now […]

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3 reviews for Australia Remembers 3 PB

  1. Len was a history maker, a young man who didn’t let society’s prejudice, his culture or skin colour stand in his way. But when WWII was over, Len sadly discovered that his service and courage did not result in equality. Len once said that, out of his RAAF uniform, he simply ‘returned to being a black fellow’.

    Today, decades later, Len’s determination and achievements are recognised and honoured across Australia, his story now told in the third in this remarkable series that makes Australia’s military history accessible to younger readers. with its age-appropriate text, many coloured photos, and appealing layout. But more than that, it is one of a growing number of titles, which includes Dreaming Soldiers by the same author , that are at last, acknowledging the contribution made by our First Nations peoples and perhaps inspiring those of the current generation to also dream big.

    This series which includes Australia Remembers : ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials and Australia Remembers 2: Customs and Traditions of the Australian Defence Force is a valuable addition to any library’s collection so that our students can learn about the significant events and people of the past that continue to shape us. Len Waters died in 1993, but books like this and The Missing Man are finally bringing his service to prominence and making him so much more than “a black fellow.” I wonder what he would make of that.

  2. This is a magnificent story of a man who lived generously, and without rancour or grudge, for a nation that used his talents, risked his life, and gave him no recognition. More lately, there are monuments, and there is even a Len Waters Building at the RAAF base in Williamstown, opened in 2020. It has taken too long.

    Catherine Bauer has produced a book that gives full respect to Len Waters as an indigenous man, an Australian warrior, and a pioneering engineer-pilot. More than this, her story offers the wider context of the European War and the Pacific War, with information and statistics that will answer the questions of the most curious student, and open even more questions for groups and classes to discuss, research, and build imaginative engagement with the issues raised.

  3. Every school library needs this book.
    The water-color style illustrations by Nancy Bevington are dynamic and carefully accurate, while the many historical and archival photos and maps give the book immediacy and authenticity. The most beautiful and touching aspect of the book is the tone of the text, which makes clear the injustices perpetrated upon Len Waters, but at the same time conveys the always positive attitude he maintained for the good of himself, his people, and his chosen nation. This book is an excellent corrective to the usual stories of Australia’s war effort. Every school library needs this book.

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