Conjuring fiction from family legend.

Quite often when I'm writing I'll recall a story my father told me, or dig through our archives and find a forgotten document as in the case of The Last Station, and presto. Rummaging through the past can yield fascinating information and it was while doing just that a few years ago that I recalled [...]

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 – 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 [...]

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 [...]

Massive trees & a canvas roof – One of our earliest woolsheds.

The woolshed at Jondaryan on Queensland’s Darling Downs is one of the oldest and largest shearing sheds in the world. Heritage listed, Jondaryan Station dates to 1840, when English born Charles Coxen sent his nephew off on an expedition to find suitable pastoral land for his rural aspirations. The lad had a good eye for [...]

What the Irish famine and Australia have in common.

It’s said that everything and everyone is interconnected in some way. I often find when I’m sleuthing for facts when writing that some snippet of information will pop up and I’m left pondering the events that link people and places together. This happened about twelve months ago when I was reading up on the Strzelecki [...]

Researching in the Strzeleckie Desert – The story behind The Cedar Tree Part 2

Why place a character in the middle of no-where? In The Cedar Tree, Italian-raised Stella Moretti marries into the O’Riain family during World War Two and finds herself living on a sheep property on the barren edges of the Strzelecki Desert. Slowly her life unravels. Of course the Far West of NSW, specifically Corner Country, [...]

Frontier Australia

It was pretty tough being a settler in Australia in the 1830s and tougher still for the First Australians. Imagine you're a white settler and have just arrived in the colony of New South Wales after five months on-board a sailing ship en route from the Mother Country - England. On arrival you discover that [...]

The Brushmen of the Bush – Jack Absalom

Brushmen of the Bush. Now here's a painting group that deserved their iconic name. In 1973 five artists met in Broken Hill, New South Wales  and started collaborating. The artists, comprising of Pro Hart, Eric Minchin, Jack Absalom, Hugh Schulz and John Pickup would change forever the perception of outback art both in Australia and abroad, ensuring [...]

Mustering money. The company property.

Mustering money. It’s a term that can only be applied in Australia. A place where once mighty sheep stations were forged in the outback by men with the ability to raise funds for their far-flung ventures. The majority of company properties (the AACo was established as a land development company in 1824) came into being [...]

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