Cover image of the book 'Tunnel to Tar-Ra'

Tunnel to Tar-Ra

'Tunnel to Tar-Ra' is Susan Boyer's last young adult Australian history novel. Susan has interwoven actual people, events and conditions in Sydney Cove in the very early 1790's into an exciting fiction story.

Extract from the story:

How’s this poss … possib ...’ Jemima swallowed and tried again, but her tongue wouldn’t form the word. Her mind raced, her arms felt weak. She turned to the others crouched on the ground beside her, hoping that perhaps this was an elaborate joke. But their pale, pinched faces mirrored her fear and confusion. She closed her eyes trying to fight the panic, searching for a logical explanation, but all she managed to

splutter was, ‘I don’t get it.’ 


About 'tunnel to Tar-Ra': Young adult Australian history fiction.

Read of the perilous adventures of Oliver, Jemima, Millie and Archie as they explore a tunnel that leads from the cellar of Sydney’s Hero of Waterloo hotel. They exit it in the year 1791. Where are they?


The time travellers have stepped into a living history book. As recorded in journals, letters and reports

by the British First Fleet settlers of Sydney Cove they meet Aboriginal and convict people, they witness or hear of events and see the settlement living conditions of those times.


Danger is never far away and Aboriginal youths help conceal the teenagers. There is a flogging, an amputation, and Archie, while under cover, watches as several convicts escape in a boat on a

moonless night. During their adventure they see and experience so much more.


And what do Oliver, Jemima, Millie and Archie learn from their incredible journey? Do they make it back home to modern day Sydney? 



A story with a great pace and lots of drama and I have learned a lot about the intimate history of

the settlement. I really enjoyed ‘Tunnel to Tar-Ra’ and I feel that it has really hit the mark for young readers.

Prof. Susanne Gannon


Boyer captures a sense of story, character and place. The revelations about the extraordinary life of Nanberry bring to the forefront stories that should never be forgotten. An important, wonderful work.

Dist. Prof. Larissa Behrendt

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