Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

Jan featured on the cover of A Tale of Two Families

All of the characters that appear in A Tale of Two Families by Jenny Pausacker.

Main characters[]

Jan Packard[]

Main article: Janice Packard

Janice[1] "Jan" Packard (born November 2, 1960)[2][3] was the daughter of Margaret and Ron Packard. She had two brothers, Terry and Pete. Jan lived in the Box Hill suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, where she attended school with her best friend, Fran Briggs. In 1974, she learned about the Women's Liberation movement from her mother. Jan later became good friends with Maz Tyson, a supporter of Woman's Liberation.

Supporting characters[]

Fran Briggs[]

Frances[4] "Fran" Briggs[5] was Jan's best friend. She always agreed with her father's stance on issues, rarely forming her own opinion. In early 1974, according to Jan she became "boy-mad", subsequently developing crushes on Graeme Maxwell and Mr. Counihan. Fran partnered with Ross McLellan for Miss Martin's feminism project, which hurt Jan's feelings. They later made up and Fran joined Jan's football team.

Graeme Maxwell[]

Graeme Maxwell (born c. 1949)[6] was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He grew up in Box Hill with his parents and siblings, Karen and Michael. Graeme shared his birthday with his former best friend, Terry Packard, who was also drafted. Unlike Terry, Graeme did not fight the draft and went to fight. After returning home, Graeme suffered from nightmares and flashbacks, developed a short temper, and struggled to hold a job.

Margaret Packard[]

Margaret[7] Packard ("Mum") was the mother of Terry, Jan, and Pete, and wife of Ron. She grew up during the Great Depression. Margaret had a somewhat strained relationship with her mother. Her son, Terry was a draft resister in the late 1960s. Shortly later, Margaret became interested in Women's Liberation and joined a women's Consciousness Raising group. In 1974, she got a job in the Education Department.

Maz Tyson[]

Amazon "Maz"[8] Tyson (born c. 1957)[9] was a supporter of the Women's Liberation movement. She was best friends and roommates with Chrissie and Gina. At fifteen, Maz dropped out of school, after he parents could not pay for her books. She presumably left home, because her father hit her and her mother. Maz had two brothers, Les and Johnno, who played football for Collingwood. In 1974, Maz became an older sister figure to Jan. She also explained feminism to Jan's class.

Ron Packard[]

Ron[10] Packard ("Dad;" born May)[11] was Margaret's husband, and father of Terry, Jan, and Pete. He fought in World War II. In the 1960s, he believed Terry should have fought in the Vietnam War, but eventually realized that "fighting against conscription was pretty brave as well." Ron worked in the Department of Veterans' Affairs and met a lot of Vietnam vets, which made him sympathetic toward Graeme Maxwell. After his wife got a full-time job, Ron left his job to make a living on woodwork.

Terry Packard[]

Terry Packard (born c. 1949)[6] was the older brother of Jan. He became a draft resister, after being conscripted with Graeme Maxwell in the late 1960s. By 1974, he was studying law at a university and lived in a "collective household" with his girlfriend Rainbow. After a fight with his girlfriend, he moved back to his parents house for a short time. They resumed their relationship thanks to Jan's advice. He later went to an interview for a law firm that dealt with union and environmental law.

Minor characters[]

  • Blackie and Spot were the dogs of the Packards and Maxwells. They often played together.
  • Bridget Hanlon was Graeme Maxwell's friend. She worked as a nurse in Vietnam.
  • Mr. Briggs was a science teacher and Fran's father. He had strong opinions, which he refused to waver from, particularly about the Vietnam War.
  • Chrissie and Gina were Maz's best friends. They supported the Women's Liberation movement and attended many protests with Maz. The friends shared an apartment in Carlton.
  • Mr. Counihan was Jan's history teacher. He had graduated from college a few years earlier and opposed war of any kind. Counihan was also the coach of Jan's football team.
  • Karen Maxwell (born c. 1953)[6] was the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell. She worked at an advertising firm. Later, Karen decided to study for her Master of Arts.
  • "Granma" and "Granpa" were Margaret's parents. Margaret's mother disapproved the women's movement, but eventually reached an understanding with her daughter.
  • Jimmy Carpenter was Ross McLellan's best friend. He went to the same school as Jan.
  • John Fraser was Jan's classmate and friend. He lived close to the Packards and his parents were divorced. In 1974, he and Jan were partners for Miss Martin's feminism project.
  • Liz Farrell, Pat Rechner, Suzy Carter and Tanya Vukasin, four girls that joined Jan's football team.
  • Miss Martin was an English teacher at Jan's school. In 1974, she was teaching A Tale of Two Cities to Jan and her classmates. She was against feminism, until Maz spoke to Jan's class.
  • Michael Maxwell (born c. 1962)[6] was Pete's best friend and neighbor. They both use to play with Jan, until "they decided [she] was a girl."
  • Sophia[11] "Nanna" and "Papa" Packard were Ron's parents. In the 1950s, Sophia had a job and joined the Union of Australian Women.
  • Pete Packard (born April 12, 1961)[6][12] was Jan's little brother. He was best friends with Michael, who lived next door. Pete was also on the junior football team.
  • Rainbow "Rain" was Terry's girlfriend. She was described as a "hippy," who wore long Indian skirts. Rain and Terry briefly separated, but rekindled their relationship thanks to Jan's advice.
  • Ross McLellan, one of Jan's classmate. He was friends with Jimmy Carpenter, John Fraser, and Pete. Ross developed a crush on Fran and later dared Jan to form a girl's football team.
  • Ted[13] and Val[14] Maxwell were the parents of Graeme, Karen, and Michael. The Maxwells held barbecues every other Sunday with the Packards, their neighbors and friends. Ted often made sexist comments, which bothered Margaret Packard. The Maxwells later decided to open a shop, where the would sell Val's pottery.


See also[]

My Australian Story characters
Main characters

Julienne Fulbert | Elizabeth Harvey | Mary Beckith | Jonothan "Joe" Daley | David Bellamy | Rosa Aarons
Alf | Shu Cheong | Robby Jenkins | Ben Cross | Thomas Morris | Jamie Ross | Olivia Markham | Billy Hamilton
Kitty Barnes | Edward Loh | Emma Shelldrake | Victor March | Charlotte McKenzie | Annie Cliff | Jack McLaren
Jimmy Porter | Sally Fielding | Victor McDonald | Billy Thompson | Alice Carson | Mary Talence
David "Nipper" McCutcheon | Peter Fullerton | Archibald "Archie" McLeod | Tom Taylor | Anthony Brown
Sophia Krikonis | Eva Fischer | Davey Walker | Wilomena "Billie" Krum | Janice "Jan" Packard | Ryan Turner
Michael O'Keefe | Mel Gordon | Ali Ismail | Amy

Lists of characters by book

On Board the Boussole | Surviving Sydney Cove | Convict Girl | Castle Hill Rebellion | The Rum Rebellion
A Banner Bold | Rebellion at Eureka | New Gold Mountain | Archer's Melbourne Cup | Riding with Thunderbolt
The Yankee Whaler | The Hunt for Ned Kelly | Escape from Cockatoo Island | Claw of the Dragon
Plagues and Federation | The Melting Pot | Our Enemy, My Friend | Gallipoli | A Different Sort of Real
My Father's War | Fords and Flying Machines | Outback | The Phar Lap Mystery | Our Don Bradman
Sydney Harbour Bridge | Who Am I? | Black Sunday | Heroes of Tobruk | Kokoda | The Bombing of Darwin
Atomic Testing | A Marathon of Her Own | Snowy | Vietnam | A Tale of Two Families | Cyclone Tracy
Six Seconds | Our Race for Reconciliation | Refugee | Bushfire