Book Review: Thicker Than Water by Cal Flyn

Gibbsland, Australia

Australia is a wonderful country. It is then not surprising that immigrants would wish to make a life there. Get some land and build both homes and lives. Prosper. Become wealthy and powerful. A new start gained.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Angus McMillan landed in Australia 1838. A single man from Isle of Skye in Scotland. Picture of a beloved in his mind and a journal in his luggage. He was just under thirty and he believed he was living out God’s plan. By the time of his death 1865 he had made his mark in Australia.

Aboriginal, foot

But Australia was already inhabited in 1838. Had been for hundreds, even thousands of years. Would one need to buy land from the aboriginals? Would they wish to sell it? That would mean money and funds. No, land was taken on the first immigrant come, first settler born on spot principal. Vast areas were conquered this way. New names were given, reminding one of the life and places left behind oceans away.

These whites were considered ghosts by the aboriginals, and they expected these ghosts to leave. When this did not happen, the aboriginals tried to fight for their land. The settlers were scared, believed in their cause and despite their christian background, lead massacres in order to establih their societies in this new country. Angus Mc Millan himself lead these massacres for about ten years. Massacres that became suppressed National quilt and dark secrets born in close circles.

In quite other times, Cal Flyn lived is Scotland almost happy, when she became aware of her connection to Angus McMillan, her great-great-great uncle. Sensing a story, the reporter soon made her way to Australia to investigate. Her book Thicker Than Water book came out in 2016. In the book Flyn lays open the problem that Australia has herself began to face in recent years.

I had heard of the Europeans hunting the aboriginals years back when I lived in this wonderful country myself for a few years. Still it was enlightening to listen to Flyn’s investigative progress and share in her travel experiences. This mix of present and past proved to be interesting. I had first expected the book to be fiction for some reason, so was a little disapppointed. However, I grew to respect the work she had done for the book, even if the trail became a little too sentimental at times. Yes, terrible things happened in other places, atrocities were committed by other people elsewhere and who knows what one one’s self is capable of. But still, there is no need to white-wash these acts in any way. There is a need to face them. I recommend the book to all those interested in Australian history.

STARS: 4/5

Aboriginal Art


  1. This sounds interesting – I will lookout for it! I wonder – did he ever see his beloved again? Or did he have to make do with the picture – or perhaps found someone new. I will have to read about him.


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