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The Pioneers is set against the background of pioneering life in the Gippsland region of Victoria in pre-Federation Australia. Mary and Donald Cameron are free-settlers who make a home in the wilderness and grow a prosperous cattle operation that establishes their position as prominent members of the new settlement.At first, the novel privileges Mary’s perspective as she encounters escaped convicts, bush fires, and raising a son in a remote community. Later, it follows her son, Davey, as he struggles for independence against his father’s harsh authority. Davey encounters further obstacles in the figure of local hotel owner, Thad McNab, who is determined that Davey’s childhood sweetheart, Deirdre, should be his own bride. (Summary by kirstyl)