Pony From Tarella by Mavis Thorpe Clark

Melbourne: William Heinemann Ltd, 1959.
222 pages; hard-cover; 20cm; 7 b/w illus by Jean M. Rowe.

More publishing information

About the story

At thirteen, orphan Sandy has two great ambitions - to work at Tarella Station and to own the beautiful golden-brown mare, Sunflower.

When he returns to holiday at Tarella Station, however, Sandy discovers that Sunflower has been promised to Phil, a family friend. Sandy is no longer allowed to ride the mare, and has to watch in misery as Phil bullies the sensitive mare into obedience.


Mavis Thorpe Clark had discovered that every book "demanded research":

"There was no escape from this extra dimension (of writing), nor was escape desired. Each task was accepted and appreciated for what it gave of itself. It was not purely a search for facts or background. The people who populated the background were to be found; they were always the engines motivating the action…

This time the mysteries of horseback riding, show jumping and life amongst sheep and black Aberdeen Angus cattle were explored.

This story was prompted by my schoolfriend Win Kennedy, whose husband Eddy Kennedy, managed Bungle Boori, a sheep and cattle property in the rolling hills near Seymour. Win was my lifetime friend from Mont Albert Central (School) and Eddy a born-and-bred country man from Central Victoria. Eddy was patient and generous with his interest in Pony From Tarella."

- Trust the Dream (1999) pages 79-80.


"For a second (Sandy) stood very still, then his two fingers went up to his mouth, and the shrill insistent whistle floated across the hill. The horses kept on galloping, enjoying their game. Again he whistled. Sunflower was nearer this time.

Did she hesitate just a second? Did her ears lift?

His clear note echoed above the thud of the hooves. She was close this time, but still travelling fast. Another whistle. Her stride faltered, she eased the pace. She seemed to listen. Sandy's heart bounded. She had heard him..."

- Pony from Tarella (1959) pages 50-51.

Pony from Tarella - scan of same page of original manuscript and published book.

Page 50 from the 1969 edition of Pony from Tarella (right) with the same page of the original manuscript, annotated by the author (please click image to enlarge).

See also Inspiration for Pony from Tarella

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Cover: sketches of several horses.

Cover of 1959 edition of Pony from Tarella.

Cover: image of horse taking a jump.

Cover of 1977 paperback edition of Pony from Tarella.

Cover of 1969 edition showing boy riding  a horse.

Cover of 1969 edition of Pony from Tarella.