Paddle-steamers on the Murray-Darling River.

The river-boat era carries with it an inherently romantic history in Australian lore but like most industries it started through need. In 1851 Australia’s first gold rush took place at Ophir near Orange. Barely three years earlier gold had been discovered in California and now the mighty rush of humanity turned an eager eye towards [...]

Being fashionable in the 1900s

Fancy having your waist strangled by whalebone? Or using coal-heated tongs and risking your hair burning? At the turn of the century women's fashion was very feminine, but also restrictive and modesty prevailed. Long sleeved blouses, skirts and dresses ensured skin was covered. Tops were billowy and loose, and sleeves exaggerated, the extra fabric enhancing [...]

The Afghan Cameleers – Providing a vital service & yet the victims of prejudice

From the 1860s to the 1930s Afghan cameleers were indispensable in servicing Australia’s inland pastoral regions. Although known generically as Afghans these expert teamsters came from the North-West frontier province (then under British rule) now known as Pakistan as well as Iran, India, Afghanistan, Egypt and Turkey. ‘Harry’ the first camel to arrive in Australia [...]

The Last Station – Why I wanted to write this novel

As March 1st is publication day for The Last Station., I thought I'd share why I wanted to write it. When it comes to deciding on the subject matter for a historical novel some of the questions I ask myself include; is it a fascinating period in Australian history and if so are the actual [...]

The Last Station – What’s it about!

The Last Station Well, here it is at last. My eleventh novel. Out March 1st. It took some wrangling to get this one into shape. The initial concept came to me some years ago, having decided upon the Darling River as the touchstone for the work. A river that is vital, changeable, and ultimately unreliable [...]

The Last Station – New release. Out 1st March.

Cover reveal! The Last Station will be out March 1st. It's been three years in the crafting, from initial concept to outline (6 if I count the initial idea), numerous drafts, a first chapter that I rewrote 14 times, not to mention the other chapters and a couple of characters who didn't make the cut, [...]

Pinchgut Island became Sydney’s Fort Denison.

In 1788, the convict Thomas Hill was rowed out to a 49 foot high sandstone islet in the middle of Sydney harbour. He was left there for a week in irons, subsisting on bread and water until he caught sight of the dinghy that was to bring him ashore. On his return, it's said that [...]

By | January 24th, 2022|Australian History|0 Comments

Historic Murki Homestead destroyed by fire (Boomi, NSW. Australia)

Yesterday morning the Murki Homestead burnt to the ground. Four generations of Alexanders lived there, from my great-grandfather’s time through to my generation; 1893-2016. It was here that the early beginnings of our business were established, and over the years the house grew to accommodate successive families. Beneath its roof men and women discussed the [...]

The worlds most beautiful war memorial – The Great Ocean Road

The world’s most beautiful war memorial spans 243 kms and was built by men who served during the Great War. The Great Ocean Road was first planned towards the end of World War I, when the chairman of the Victorian Country Roads Board asked the State War Council for monetary assistance. The funds would enable returned soldiers [...]

By | August 31st, 2020|Australian History|0 Comments

How Flinders missed the mouth of the Murray River.

When English explorer Matthew Flinders unexpectedly sighted Frenchman Nicolas Baudin’s vessel at sea near the South Australian coastline on the 8th April 1802, both men were probably a little wary. As far as they knew, Britain and France were still at war. The French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802) were a series of sweeping military conflicts stemming from the French [...]

By | August 24th, 2020|Australian History|0 Comments
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