The Sky is Free by Mavis Thorpe Clark

Sydney: Hodder and Stoughton, 1974.
175 pages; hard-cover; 22cm; not illus.

More publishing information


  • The Film and Television Rights to The Sky Is Free purchased by Walt Disney

About the story

"Sam and Tony meet at a railway station on the edge of the Australian outback. Both have run away, Sam from a comfortable suburban home, Tony from one of many institutions which have sheltered him ever since he was left on the verandah of a Babies' Home with a note - "Please care for my Antonio". Both are journeying to find themselves. Together they set out into the desert land of mulga and spinifex and saltbush, and make their way to the Opal Town, where the desert is pitted with mine-shafts and men of every nationality labour to discover the flashing fire of the opal seams. The boys hit trouble - and find themselves working for Bob Kelly, one of the oldest miners on the field. In the end, it is through their experience at Kelly's mine that each boy finds the true self which, like the opal fire in the ground, has lain waiting to be discovered."

- The Sky is Free (1974) blurb.


"It certainly was hard walking. And hot. Minute black desert flies tried to buzz into their eyes, up their noses, around their mouths. It was now mid-afternoon. All day the sun had shone with a white light out of a clear sky. A hot sun that had bored down through the glass of the windscreen and made the cabin of the truck an airless chamber. Now they found it was even hotter on the road, and the glare from the wind-polished gibbers screwed up their eyes."

- The Sky is Free (1974) page 41.

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Cover illustration: two boys at night under the stars.

Cover of 1990 paperback edition of The Sky is Free.

Cover illustration: two kangaroos bound along beside a truck.

Cover of the German paperback edition entitled Nur der Himmel ist Frei.