A shiralee is a swag, a burden – and Macauley tramps through the back towns of New South Wales, looking for work, with his swag and his shiralee – his four year old daughter, Buster, taken from her loose-living mother by Macauley in a fit of vengeful rage. Buster is a bundle of loyalty, fortitude and natural childishness, yet she is no joy to Macauley, who treats her with uncompromising firmness. She must go on walking with him; she must stop her chattering when he wants quiet; she must not complain. But he has a grudging affection for her, an affection which grows without his realising it – until it is threatened. Now, not only must he admit his love for his daughter, but he is made to realise how many true friends he really has. Here are other very real Australian characters: shopkeepers, stock agents, publicans, shearers, ex-fighters – all set against the Australian bush background of the 1950s. Niland’s first novel, filmed twice. Cover shows Bryan Brown and Rebecca Smart as MacAuley and Buster in the 1987 mini-series.