Little is known about Andrew H. Walpole. Walpole only wrote one novel: The Black Star.
The Black Star: A School Story for Boys. Sydney: Cornstalk Publishing Company, 1925. 226 pages. Illustrated, b/w frontis.
The Black Star was one of the earliest Australian boys’ school story to incorporate a strong adventure plot. The story concerns the attempts of Deepwater College Sixth Former, Billy Faraday, and his friend, Jack Symonds, to protect the Black Star, a sacred Aboriginal emblem given to Billy’s father, from two crooks, Lazare and Tiger. This use of Aboriginal motifs was quite unusual. Lazare appears at Deepwater College pretending to be the new History Master. His accomplice, Tiger, had previously attempted to steal the Black Stone from Billy while he was travelling back to school after the holidays. Most of the story details how the attempts of the bogus history master to steal the stone are thwarted by the two boys. The Black Star was different to the other school and adventure stories of the 1920s, such as Blue Brander and Dogsnose, in that the story is predominantly set in school unlike the later stories which incorporated holiday periods. Walpole, however, includes a scene when Billy travels with a friend’s older brother in pursuit of a hawker. Billy’s study mate, Fane, had accidentally sold an old jacket to the hawker, unaware that Billy had hidden the stone in the lining. They manage to retrieve the jacket and Jack decides to hide the stone in the river. Billy is kidnapped by Lazare but is rescued from his island cave prison by Billy and his friends. When they return to school they inform the Head and Lazare and Tiger are captured by the Police. Billy decides to give the stone to an old friend of his father’s for safekeeping. Despite Walpole’s use of adventure and mystery in the story, The Black Star still contains typical school events including sporting matches and the clashes of two rival secret societies.