Acacia Downs Woolshed & Central West QLD

Central West Queensland is a vast area. Bordered by the Northern Territory and South Australia to the west the region covers about 400,000 square kilometres but is sparsely populated. Towns such as Longreach, Winton, Birdsville, Blackall, Barcaldine, Boulia and Muttaburra help to tether this strong agricultural district, dogged by drought over the centuries. Partly criss-crossed [...]

The boy who held up a town – Ben Hall

In the early years of the 1860s a young wife abandoned her husband and with her son in tow went to live with a stockman named James Taylor. This woman’s leap towards a new life would probably have never been of interest were her husband not Ben Hall, who at the age of nineteen would [...]

Writing update – Novel no. 9

You would imagine that with eight novels behind me I would slide into the writing of number nine with ease. Practice, an understanding of the fundamentals and an itching to get to know new characters should be enough to spur me on but this book has come slowly. Now nearly 80,000 words on and not [...]

By | May 8th, 2018|A WRITERS LIFE, Writing advice|2 Comments

Floods, murder and the art of not getting white-anted

Floods, murder and the art of not getting white-anted features in the early years of Milly Milly Station, located 200km west of Meekatharra. A sketchy timeline suggests that a simple hut built by the O’Gradys in the later part of the 1870s became the heart of Milly Milly, a 1.5-million-acre property that runs beside the [...]

By | May 7th, 2018|Australian pastoral history|5 Comments

Bushrangers – The Wild Colonial Boy

Loved, admired, loathed. Songs sung about them and poems written. To this day the infamous Ned Kelly remains an icon but with the origins of our bushrangers beginning with our early penal settlements it was inevitable that brutal times would produce desperate people. These men who were originally escaped convicts, glanced over their shoulder at [...]

By | April 30th, 2018|Australian History|0 Comments

Talking opinion – April

Isn’t it strange how we make an effort to do some things, but not others. If there was a bucket list for daily chores surely washing the dishes and cleaning the bathroom would never see light. Nor book-work for that matter. That is unless you have something else you’d rather not be doing and then [...]

By | April 23rd, 2018|Opinion|0 Comments

Talking history & writing at Gleebooks

Recently I was invited to chat briefly about my work at Gleebooks in Sydney. The idea behind this video series is to showcase the Sydney Mechanics School of the Arts (SMSA). It's Australia's oldest lending library having started way back in 1833 when reading was high on the list when it came to entertainment, for [...]

Memories of past lives.

Letters to loved ones were written and received here. Telegrams studied, cheques written, gummy envelopes licked, livestock tallied and stores listed. I’ve seen a similar desk in a mail order catalogue circa 1900. Except this one sits solidly in my office, a box of old nibs in one of the drawers. They are the kind [...]

Australian heritage: campfires, quart pots and billy-cans.

There’s an art in making billy-tea and when properly made the average bushman will tell you that it’s ‘the drink’, far surpassing the kitchen-made variety. The billy or billycan is only at its best when it’s stained and blackened from usage. The sundowners – those restless souls of the past who would arrive at a sheep station at [...]

“all men are equal in death”. The Australian War Memorial

The largest public display of Victoria Crosses in the world resides in the Hall of Valour in the Australian War memorial in Canberra. Here in the heart of the building directly below the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are 82 individual displays for the holder of each of the 82 Crosses won out of 100 [...]

By | April 1st, 2018|Patriotism|0 Comments
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