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  ― 490 ―

Appendix 1: A Note on the Novel's Chronology

Catherine Martin evidently wrote part of The Silent Sea at Waukaringa, where she probably lived from July to December 1890 (see Introduction p. xviii). She appears to have given considerable thought to the novel's time-scheme: the days, months and dates specified in the narrative form a generally consistent chronology of events. The few inconsistencies are pointed out in the Explanatory Notes; at least one was introduced in adjustments made by Martin to the chronology in revision.

No year is indicated in the text. However, a number of actual events which occurred between 1888 and 1890 are mentioned directly or indirectly. For example, the relevant Peninsular and Oriental line itinerary (11:1-5) had come into operation in 1888. This was also the date of the Beltana silver mine fraud (242:16). The Albany-Perth railway line (254:12) was completed in 1889, as was the SA railway link with Broken Hill (217:32). The Commercial Bank in SA collapsed in May 1890 (115:23).

The novel's allusions to recent events indicate that, as its first Australian readers in 1892 would have recognised, its story was a contemporary one. The mention of events of 1889-90 suggests more specifically that the time-span of the story's main action–from early August of one year to early February of the next–largely parallels the early part of The Silent Sea's composition in 1890-91, and that Catherine Martin envisaged the central events in the narrative as taking place between August 1890 and February 1891.

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