Madeleine Streater is from the Southern Highlands of New South
Wales. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours from
the University of Sydney and achieved a Distinction in her MA. The first
chapter of her novel, The Be All and End All, was awarded the 2015 John
Marsden and Hachette Australia Prize for Young Writers.
A year after his wife Sal’s death, single father Colin Schreiber – unable to
cope with his new life – takes his stepchildren out of the city to Nummerak,
a former sheep station, and Sal’s childhood home. Nine-year-old Marcus
loves the farm; sixteen-year-old Aaron thinks Nummerak is too isolated to
be bearable. For their older sister, Anna, the farm is only a reminder of her
mother’s unhappy childhood. Tensions in the family are strained when they
are approached by a mining company who want to purchase the property.
The children must decide exactly how they feel about their mother’s past,
her home, and their place in the local community. In the following extract
– which takes place early on in the novel – Aaron and Marcus meet their