In 1939, with rumours of war circulating, the poor souls who have been displaced by the Great Depression are still on the tracks. Across New South Wales, a ragged army of those who 'battle' for a living are still on the lookout for work, making things to sell, pursuing a con or busy planning a new one. 'Battlers' not only struggle against all the elements which seem so set against them; 'battling' is also cadging what you can in any dodge that offers, so that tonight's camp might be a little bit more comfortable, or that there might be a little bit more than nothing to eat. Long, lanky, pale-haired Theodore Grimshaw, known to everyone as Snow, has left his wife and children at home in a country town to try to get some work. He suspects his wife likes it that way. On his journeying he meets Dancy Smith, known as The Stray. She is very young, equally thin and pale, and has struggled all her life. She says she wants nothing more than a new set of false teeth (her own are long gone), but Snow begins to feel that he might be coming into her view as a possible mate. He's not at all sure that he wants another hanger-on, but has to admit that there is something incredibly endearing about her. Setting off together, they soon come across Dora Phipps. Life on the road has been too much for Phippsy, as The Stray calls her; her mind is clouded. Something of her natural pretention still comes out in her pose of being a refined lady; she is terribly concerned about the shabby creatures with whom she has to share a camp, though sharing their food is another matter - her well-rounded figure and triple chins testify to the fact that her appetite hasn't dipped a bit! This motley soon has one more member, Harley Duke, known as The Busker, who is young, charming, feisty, and fancies himself a singer, destined for big things on the stage. In a superb, rakish perambulation around the country towns of inland New South Wales, Kylie Tennant follows these four and a myriad of their mates as they desperately try not only to make ends meet, but to win in life's cruel lottery, which so far has left them in disastrous want. The Battlers is Kylie Tennant's most critically acclaimed novel, remaining constantly in print in Australia since its first publication in 1941. One of Australian literature's indisputable classics, this rollicking poetic gem received the Gold Medal of the Australian Literature Society.