Tomorrow when the war began



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TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN

Chapter 1 (pp1-16)


  • Starts in present. Ellie is writing their story- wants to record what happened. Someone needs to know what they did p2.

  • Recounts how camping trip came to be organised (parents state must have 6-8 if boys going).

  • Introduced to main characters- Ellie, Corrie, Homer Yanos, Robyn Mathers, Fi, Kevin, Lee and Chris Lang (descriptions on pp11-16).

  • Going camping at Tailor’s Stitch- decide this time that they will try to get down into Hell.

  • P9- clue- angry face on the news criticising the Foreign Minister “…the people he’s dealing with…they respect strength not weakness.”


Chapter 2 (pp 17-28)

  • Group leaves the day before Commemoration Day (national holiday). Consequently, they will miss the Wirrawee Show. Irony- “A year’s break from the Show wouldn’t do us any harm.” P18

  • 2:30pm reach top of Tailor’s Stitch (near Mt Martin). Can see Cobbler’s Bay. Clue- two ships in distance, one looks like a large trawler.

  • 5pm- start descending into Hell. Giant granite steps prove difficult until Robin crawls through a tunnel and finds a wooden bridge.


Chapter 3 (pp29-33)

  • P32- description of Hell.

  • Walk down track and set up camp. Go to bed.


Chapter 4 (pp34-44)


  • Commemoration Day. Have a lazy day. Snake crawls into Homer’s sleeping bag.

  • Around 3am-4am Ellie sees and hears jets (6 lots) whilst going to toilet. (Not until they leave Hell to return home that she realises their lights were off). Pp38-40. Now a “new atmosphere”.

  • The next day, Lee and Robyn report that they heard dozens and dozens. Pp40-41- group discusses possibilities- best time to invade.

  • Homer develops crush on Fi.

  • Ellie reflects on humans, Hell and labels. Pp 43-44


Chapter 5 (pp45-55)

  • Group have enjoyed 5 days camping in Hell. Only a couple of minor arguments.

  • Have been too lazy to return to the Landie to get food.

  • Pack up and find path out of Hell. Ends at gum tree- looks like animal track- no one would ever find it.

  • Can’t see coast because of low cloud. Ellie very uneasy.

  • Clue- 6 fires in distance, 2 are quite big. Lee also uneasy.

  • P54- Ellie hasn’t been happy since (story moves to present again)


Chapter 6 (pp56-68)

  • Opens with dramatic sentence- “The dogs were dead.” Only Millie is alive (but weak).

  • No signs that anyone has been living in Ellie’s house for past week.

  • Clue- no electricity, radio stations or dial tone.

  • Homer’s house is the same. Lee hides the Landie out of instinct.
  • P62- group starts to realise the truth. Ellie refuses to accept at first.


  • Decide not to call for help on the RF radio.

  • Robyn is rational- makes plans to check other houses.

  • P68- Lee emphasises that the country is at war.


Chapter 7 (pp69-92)

  • Wait for darkness before going to Kevin’s. His dog Flip is ecstatic. Take 3 bicycles from Kevin’s. Go to Corrie’s.

  • Find fax from Corrie’s dad- p73- warning them to go bush and stay there. Ellie hasn’t cried since. Get 4th bike.

  • 1am- ride to Robyn’s (outskirts of town).

  • Homer suggests they split up- 5 free better than none p75.

  • Homer & Fi- go to her place. Robyn & Lee- Lee’s place. Corrie, Kevin and Ellie- check out showgrounds.

  • P82- Ellie realises that she’s become a more “complicated and capable person”.

  • Hide behind gum- see soldiers and one third of ground. Manage to retreat to last tree in car park before spotted and fired upon.

  • Retreat to Mrs Alexander’s (ex-boyfriend’s place). Ellie leads Kevin and Corrie to dead end.

  • Find matches in car and Kevin soaks t-shirt in petrol from ride on mower. Hide behind fence. Ellie moans/sobs- lures 3 soldiers close.

  • Drops match to light mower (almost goes out) - massive explosion. Injures/kills soldiers.

  • Robyn & Lee missing. 3:35am- leave and return to Corrie’s.

Chapter 8 (pp93-104)

  • P95- Ellie has changed after what happened. Group has breakfast and recounts experiences.
  • P96- Homer decides that in war normal rules don’t apply.


  • Homer & Fi- tell group that the main street had seen action- blood and bullet cartridges. Shops looted- looks like riot was there.

  • Almost caught- had to hide in male toilets. 8 soldiers- not professional soldiers. Rough uniforms. Various ages. 3 females. P100. To invade country size of Australia- would need everyone.

  • Fi saw shadows- others who haven’t been caught. They run away.

  • Some houses damaged/destroyed by bombs.

  • Group retreats to shearing quarters- safer. Decide the enemy doesn’t have the manpower to search entire district in one day. Take turns at sentry duty.

  • P104- Homer changing- displaying leadership skills, fast thinking.


Chapter 9 (pp105-122)

  • Ellie on sentry duty in tree house. Corrie sits with her- reminisce about childhood. P107- never feels safe again. Innocence gone.

  • Wirrawee a good base to invade- harbour and highway p108

  • Homer joins them- see Australian jet. Chased by 3 enemy jets.

  • Have lunch in house. Pp109-110- Homer acts as leader. Suggests he and Ellie go to find Robyn and Lee whilst the others load the Landie and Toyota with supplies from 3 houses. Leave for Hell at dawn- future is in Hell (p111).

  • Whilst group is arguing over what to take, helicopter hovers over house (p114). Group watches it from behind curtains- not sure if they’ve been seen. Worried that Flip may have aroused suspicion.
  • Move to shearing quarters- decide to wait until dark to return to Corrie’s house. Will leave Toyota- will arouse suspicion now.


  • 90 secs after jet arrives- fires two rockets. One hits house and destroys it. Second slams into hill (was probably meant for shearing quarters). Flip missing. Pp119-120.


Chapter 10 (pp122-140)

  • Corrie traumatised. Throw water on her, wrap her in blankets. Doesn’t want Homer and Ellie to go. Homer says they can’t crawl under a bed.

  • Ellie feels attracted to Homer- wants to discover more about the new Homer. Hold hands as they ride bikes.

  • Arrive in town- can’t remember where they’re meeting Robyn & Lee.

  • Can see lights on in hospital.

  • At Robyn’s, see movement in window. Door creaks loudly as they enter. Hear footstep- drop to floor. Hear bolt being drawn back in breech. Ellie screams, “Robyn!”

  • Lee shot in calf. P131- soldier description.

  • Saw Mr Clement (dentist) - had family hidden somewhere and few dozen hiding.

  • Chased into newsagency, Lee shot. Robyn throws photocopier through rear door. Carries Lee out on her back. Mr Clement stitched leg.

  • Develop plan to rescue Lee- take bulldozer. Element of surprise.


Chapter 11 (141-155)

  • 3:05am- Ellie puts on helmet. Homer will meet them later in Three Pig Lane with car.

  • 3:10am- starts ignition. Turns on lights (had argued about this). Arrives at restaurant. Lowers shovel- sparks hit ground.
  • Lee in shovel. Robyn in passenger door. Initially driving in reverse. Ellie- cut to head. Chased and shot at. Hit jeep (later learns that soldiers killed) when brake suddenly. Second jeep shoots some tyres out. Block lane with bulldozer.


  • Homer meets them with BMW. Swap cars at Chris Lang’s. Take Merc. Sink BMW in dam. As they cheer Chris emerges- has been hiding in animal shed. P153- soldier description. P154- description of Chris.

  • Chris hadn’t gone to Show. When Murray (employee) didn’t return, went for walk- uncle’s house blown up. 3 dead bodies in a car. Has since watched two patrols loot house.


Chapter 12 (pp156-165)

  • P160- attachment to places.

  • Get to Ellie’s. Rest for day in haystack. Lee puts arm around Ellie. Has dream about him. They kiss. She is confused about her feelings for Lee and Homer.

  • Return to Hell. Ellie sleeps for 3 days. Have nightmares.


Chapter 13 (pp166-178)

  • Corrie finally finds radio stations (after realising she had been using the wrong frequency).

  • Australia only country invaded. America warned not to intervene or would have costly and bloody war.

  • Enemy defends invasion- “addressing imbalances in the region”

  • The group debates the validity of this statement p170-1

  • Group decides to do reconnaissance around town- need to know families are safe. Robyn, Chris, Kevin and Corrie go for a couple of days.

  • Lee, Ellie, Fi and Homer get more supplies (e.g. chickens, seedlings). They realise the situation may go on for quite some time.


Chapter 14 (pp179-190)

  • Steady stream of enemy aircraft.
  • Lee’s leg is improving. He tries to talk to Ellie about her feelings for him. She feels unsure and gets defensive.


  • Ellie needs to get away for awhile. She wanders up the creek- see where it leads. Crawls under overgrowing bushes etc. Finds the Hermit’s hut.


Chapter 15 (pp191-209)

  • Fi and Ellie discuss Homer. Fi likes him but is worried he likes her too much and might dominate. Ellie advises her to take a chance- better than wondering what might have been.

  • Ellie takes Lee to the Hermit’s hut. They find a metal tin concealed in the window ledge. Contains newspaper articles, coroner’s report, letters etc.

  • The Hermit had won a war medal for bravery.

  • Coroner’s report- the Hermit’s wife and child died on 24 December. Both received gunshots to the head but had also been victims of a fire. Coroner unable to determine if the Hermit did it in cold blooded murder or if they were victims of the bushfire and he shot them to put them out of their misery (no medical staff).


Chapter 16 (pp210-219)

  • Letter from the Hermit’s mother-in-law. Believes his story. We learn that gossip from the town was awful- perhaps the reason why he left and hid in Hell.

  • Ellie decides to give relationship with Lee a chance- doesn’t want to live a life without love, happiness etc like the Hermit did.

  • Fi and Homer wait at the top of Hell for Robyn, Kevin, Corrie and Chris to return. Ellie returns to Lee. She pauses and reflects on the nature of humans- that humans can do acts of good/bad too.

  • Ellie reflects on the damage that she has done to the soldiers. Wonders if her actions are justified. P216


Chapter 17 (pp220-235)


  • Robyn, Chris, Corrie and Kevin return. Their trip went well.

  • Learn that their families and the people in the Showgrounds are being treated reasonably well.

  • The Hospital is running.

  • Work parties (3-4) leave the Showgrounds each day- search houses, clean up, bury people. Preparing town etc for arrival of new inhabitants.

  • Ellie learns that two soldiers died after the mower exploded. Two soldiers in the car that Ellie ran over in the bulldozer also died.

  • The group hid in the houses working parties were about to enter. They would then question them to find out new information.

  • Robyn had a close call in one of the houses.


Chapter 18 (pp236-243)

  • They consider their future. Homer states that they have a few options- hide in Hell and do nothing (families would want this), they can try to rescue their families (very dangerous) or they can try to help their soldiers/country.

  • The group eventually decides to do something. They decide to investigate whether they can do sabotage the road from Cobbler’s Bay (main supply route for enemy from ships).

  • Homer, Fi, Ellie and Lee will investigate the following night.


Chapter 19 (pp244-254)

  • Lee, Homer, Fi and Ellie watch the road from Cobbler’s Bay at midnight. They are almost caught by 10 professional soldiers when the soldiers flash their torches at a rabbit.

  • They watch the road for an hour. One convoy comes through.

  • They retreat to the Fleet’s property at 4am.
  • Homer suggests that they blow up the bridge. He suggests that Ellie steals a petrol tanker and they use it to destroy the old bridge.


  • Homer decides that he and Lee will create a distraction by mustering a herd of nearby Hereford cattle. As they stampede across the bridge, the soldiers will be too busy avoiding them (climbing up the sides) and not watching Ellie and Fi.

  • That afternoon the group prepares. They get motorbikes, bolt cutters and walkie talkies.


Chapter 20 (pp255-265)

  • Ellie and Fi steal a petrol tanker from Blue Star Fuel. Ellie has difficulty driving it at first- everything starts beeping which makes too much noise.

  • Ellie and Fi are forced to abandon the tanker at one point when a patrol of soldiers approach.

  • Ellie and Fi move the truck into the shadows of the trees at the park.


Chapter 21 (pp266-273)

  • The walkie talkies fail to work. Homer and Lee herd the cattle anyway. Ellie hears the cattle and springs into action.

  • She parks the tanker under the bridge. Ellie soaks a long rope in the petrol and trails it to the trees where Fi will light it. She is covered in petrol and feeling dizzy.

  • As the last of the cattle disappears, the soldiers finally notice the girls. They shoot frantically at Ellie who remains focused on her job. Homer is later amazed that she wasn’t shot.

  • Fi lights the rope. The soldiers are initially confused but soon react by running off.

  • The bridge explodes.

  • Fi and Ellie escape on the bikes. They do wheelies on the seventh green at the golf course to celebrate.


Chapter 22 (pp274-282)
  • Fi, Ellie, Homer and Lee return to Fleet’s. Rest for day.


  • Recount stories. Homer and Lee unsure what to do- hadn’t been another convoy. Decide to go ahead. Homer ends up hissing to move cattle. Don’t know how Ellie wasn’t shot. Describe explosion.

  • Have enjoyable afternoon. Ellie later states that she should felt a premonition p279.

  • Leave for farm at 10pm. Get to machinery shed. Corrie lying there- pale. Shot in back when she went with Kevin to his uncle’s place to get some ferrets.

  • Decide her only hope is going to hospital. Homer suggests that they leave her at gate, ring bell and run off.

  • Kevin refuses to- his “mate”. Drives off in Merc with Corrie.


Epilogue (pp283-284)

  • One week later. Group hasn’t left Hell. Have improved chook cage etc. Reflects on human nature again.





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