Ironbark Preview this book with Google Preview Buy Online Listen to Audio Download Teachers' Notes (PDF Format)
Published June 2008

A novel about a powerful relationship between a troubled teenager and his grandfather, set in the Tasmanian Wilderness.

"Ironbark is compelling reading, exploring the bond which develops between the troubled city boy and his seemingly out of touch grandfather, and the boy’s battle with an explosive temper – diagnosed as Intermittent Explosive Disorder.

A page turner."
Sally Murphy:


'I'm miserable and sixteen. In that order.'

Sixteen can be a tough time. And it's almost unmanageable for a wisecracking boy whose temper is white-hot.

As a consequence he is sentenced to a time-out with his reclusive grandfather in a primitive shack in the Tasmanian forest.

There is little to do except chop wood and watch the red-eyed wallabies gather at dusk.

They are an unlikely couple: a taciturn old man who prefers the simple life, and a volatile boy addicted to the technology of the 21st century - and yet a bond blossoms between them.

But denied access to much he desires, and feeling provoked by a local cop cynical of city folk, the boy's frustration grows.

And when he encounters situations he can't control anything could happen...

'. . . another gem from Barry Jonsberg. A great read for all teenagers.' Robert 16, Silverfish Book Group

The Author Says

Ironbark started as a very different book that I called The Girl At The Window. In the process of re-writing, I lost both the girl and the window. This posed problems. What was I going to call the book now? The?

The story involves a boy who is never named [I liked that idea – how many books have you read where the main character doesn’t have a name?]. He is not based on any student that I have ever taught [before you ask…], though I have, in the course of my thirty years of teaching, taught plenty of kids who have problems controlling their tempers.

I really wanted to find out what made such kids ‘tick’. Are they just thugs and hoons or is there something beneath the surface that helps to explain the way they are? I suppose there was only one way to find out. I had to write the book. What results is, I think, typical of many of my novels – comedy, certainly, but also a harder edge that borders on tragedy.

Barry Jonsberg