Books I’ve read

I have read many books over the years and especially exploration and adventure books or documents and personal accounts which are mainly focussed on Australiana documentaries, biographies and a little bit of fiction. When browsing through Op Shops and Garage Sales I particularly look for books on Australian history. To date I still have some books that I have purchased over the years, left to read!

This page denotes some of the books read over the past ten years and my own personal comments on them.

A HISTORY of the ENGLISH SPEAKING PEOPLES Vol 1-4….. by Winston Spencer Churchill.
This fascinating series of books discovers the history of Britain from the Roman Year of 699 or 55 years BC up until the commencement of the 19th Century.

Originally I bought volume 1 at a book sale for $1 and then discovered that there were additional volumes. I searched for two years before I discovered a full set of 4 at a 2nd hand bookstore in Echuca, Victoria, and was well pleased to get the complete set for $45. Although my ancestry is not English I still enjoyed the history of Britain.

LEN BEADELL…..Surveyor and Road Builder extraordinaire. Len was responsible for building many iconic Outback Roads and Tracks throughout Central and Western Australia as directed by the Government of the day so that access may be achieved to retrieve parts of bombs and rockets which were fired at Maralinga in The Great Victoria Desert or Woomera Rocket Range in South Australia.

Books by Len Beadell.
Still in the Bush
Blast the Bush
Bush Bashers
Beating about the Bush
End of an Era

These books are a worthwhile read showing the tenacity of Len Beadell to get the job done. Many modern day travellers owe their recreation to the likes of Len Beadell who went out there to contruct these ‘Highways’.

Books on Len Beadell
A lifetime in the Bush. The Biography of Len Beadell…. by Mark Shephard
A more personal look at the life and times of Len Beadell

Outback…… by Thomas Keneally
The author relates tales of people and characters from Outback Australia

The First Hundred Years …….by Helen Palmer and Jessie MacLeod
The authors take the reader through the history of the east coast of Australia and beyond between 1788 and 1888.

Triumph of the Nomads…A History of Ancient Australia by Geoffrey Blayney
An optimistic look at the survival of the first inhabitants of Terra Australis

The Last of the Nomads…by W J Peasley
An account of how the last desert Aboriginal family were contacted and introduced into modern Australian civilisation in 1977

The Simpson Desert. Natural History and Human Endeavour…… by Mark Shephard
The author gives a detailed account of the original inhabitants of this desert and the human intervention that has come since white settlement of this land.

In the Middle of Nowhere….by Terry Underwood.
A pleasing auto-biography on Terry and her husband John Underwood and family, Cattle Ranchers in the Northern Territory.

Crocodiles and other People… Douglas Lockwood
Published in 1959, Douglas LOckwood, a veteran journalist for the Melbourne Herald Newspaper, relates tales from that era which are quite heart-warming and topical.

Lasseter’s Last Ride….by Ion L Idriess
Published in 1939 it tells the story of explorer and prospector Harold Lasseter in search of his famous Reef of Gold

Cooper’s Creek….by Alan Moorhead. The Story of the ill-fated Burke and Wills Expedition to cross Australia from South to North. A research narrative on this epic failure of the 19th Century.

Harry Potter Series.…… by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I attended Boarding School and so the first Harry Potter book immediately appealed to me as I related to it. The author has such a furtive imagination and the stories flow on and on. Brilliant writing!

FOOD….The History of Taste….edited by Paul Freedman
A wondefully illustrated book by ten different authors.
1. The Hunter Gatherers and First Farmers. The evolution of taste in pre-history by Alan K Outram
2. The Good things that Lay at Hand. Tastes of Ancient Greece and Rome by Veronika Grimm
3. The Quest for Perfect Balance. Taste and Gastronomy in Imperial China by Joanna Waley-Cohen
4. The Pleasures of Consumption. The Birth of Medieval Islamic Cuisine by H.D.Miller
5. Feasting and Fasting. Food and Taste in Europe in the Middle Ages by C.M.Woolgar
6. New Worlds, New Tastes. Food Fashions after the Renaissance by Brian Cowan
7. The Birth of the Modern Consumer Age. Food innovations from 1800 by Hans. J. Teuterberg
8. Chefs, Gourmets and Gourmands. French Cuisine in the 19th and 20th Centuries by Alain Drouard
9. Dining Out. The Development of the Restaurant by Elliott Shore
10.Novelty and Tradition. The New Landscape of Gastronomy by Peter Scholliers

Even for a non-foodie I found this book fascinating and it took me a while to sift through all of the information. We take so much for granted these days with food and spare little thought on the development of our eating habits

The Long Road North…. by Alex Tanner
An easy read about the Stuart and Barkley Highways in the years 1940 to 1946. It is always good to get an insight to that period of time.

Why Warriors Lie Down and Die…… by Richard Trudgeon
An insight as to the dilemmas faced by the cultural differences between the inhabitants of Arnhem Land and Australian Contemporary Culture

Archaeology of the Dreamtime….. by Josephine Flood
The story of Pre-Historic Australia and its people from a scientist’s experience. I can read this book many times

Kings in Grass Castles and Sons in the Saddle Two books in one…… by Mary Durack
Australiana Historic writing by a reknowned author depicting pastoral life and pioneers in Northern Australia in the late
19th and early 20th Centuries.

The Territory….. by Ernestine Hill
A novel by the author with some good historical facts thrown in for good measure. A tale of adventure and endurance.

Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy….. by E L James
1625 Pages of Fiction about two people. I suppose it is more of a psychological thriller wit the main protagonist displaying enduring forms of depravity.There is a plot to the story but overall it is more about the kinky sex that takes place within most of the pages that may hold you spellbound. The latter becomes boring after a while but eventually the emphasis on kinky sex changes as you progress through the books. An interesting read, but it is not for everyone, no doubt!

Cops, Crocs and Leopard-skin Jocks….. by Bob Magor
This is the biography of Roy Wright, reknowned fish npoacher in the Northern Territory. A crazy read!

Bunji 25th Anniversary Collection….. by Shane Stringer.
Bunji and his mates are cartoon characters who live in the Northern Territory. They are well known for their local venacular and topical quotes. Good humour in a localised area. Bunji has appeared in newspapers, books, magazines and other publications all over the world.

Red in the Centre Trilogy…. by Monte Dwyer
Through a Crooked Lens
The Australian Bush through Urban Eyes
Looking for the H Chord
Funny narratives of life on the road searching for stories. Monte Dwyer came to promenance by being the Weatherman on Australian TV Channels

Heart of Arnhem Land….. by Francois Giner
A lovely true story about a man and his quest to uplift the lives of a clan of Aboriginal People in Arnhemland

Changewinds….. by Jack L Chalker
A Science fiction novel about how the Changewinds blow to create different outcomes in Parallel Universes. The book is 819 pages and I struggled to put it down as the masterplot finally unfolds. A good read for Sci-Fi enthusiasts.

Across the Top and other places…… by Malcolm Douglas and David Oldmeadow
A factual account of Adventures in Northern Australia in the early 1970’s. Great reading.

Your Inner Fish…. by Neil Shubin
The amazing discovery of mankind’s 375 million year ancestor. The author is a scientist and put forward the notion that we have eveolved from fish

In Leichhardts Footsteps….. by Bruce Simpson
The author has a way in retelling the story of Ludwig Leichhardt, Australian Explorer and the unsolved mystery surrounding his disappearance in 1848

Henry Hoke’s Guide to the Misguided….. by Mark Thomson
A wacky spoof of pople in their backyard sheds inventing stuff that could have changed the world. A good laugh!

The Mystery of the Min Min Light ….. by Maureen Kozicka
Tales from the Channel Country of Queensland about an nightly apparition which keeps one spellbound. I too have seen the Min Min Light!

Born in the Desert….. by Marion Hercock
The life and travels of Dadina Brown, one of the last Australian Nomads of the Little Sandy Desert

Moll Flanders….. by Daniel Defoe
Set in the late 1700’s Moll Flanders is notorious but becomes a heroine in her struggle through life

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
A classic tale of the orphan Oliver Twist set in England in the 19th Century

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea…. by Jules Verne
The eccentric Captain Nemo in his submarine, the nautilus takes the reader on a fabulous journey through the depths of our oceans

Under the Tuscan Sun.….. by Frances Mayes
An American Family take on a property in a small village in Italy. A fascinating read.

Flinders The Man who mapped Australia….. by Rob Mundle.
A detailed research on the adventures of Captain Matthew Flinders, British Admiralty Seafarer and Explorer,
between 1789 and 1814. This is pure adventure in its raw state and the perilius demands these seafarers
had to deal with.

To fight the wild.….by Rod Ansell and Rachel Percy
Rod Ansell became lost in a remote part of the Northern Territory, Australia and survived for 3 months
until he was rescued by chance. His story inspired the films of Crocodile Dundee. I knew Rod Ansell. He was fiery and
complicated person. His life ended tragically in a shoot-out with Police in 1999.

Outback Heart…by Joanne van Os.
This is the story of Joanne and her life with Rod Ansell who wrote the book To Fight the Wild.
It was a great read for me as I know a lot of the country and many Northern Territory characters of that era.
It is well written and keeps the reader in a hold of suspense.

Journey into Australia…..By Peter and Bridget Cole-Adams…. with illustrations
A 7 month journey by road through the Outback of Australia in 1987. The authors research quite a bit of history
of forgotton towns and places. An easy read and some tips for travellers wishing to do something similar.

Jackey Jackey… Margaret Paice….with illustrations
The historical account of Galmarra the Songman, known as Jackey Jackey, an Aboriginal boy from the Hunter Valley, who, in 1848 accompanied the Explorer, Edmund Kennedy and others, on a journey from Sydney to
Rockingham Bay by ship and from there overland to Albany Island near the tip of Cape York. The tenacity of Galmarra to survive under adverse conditions and outside of his own country is amazing. The stupidity of the new settlers to mountan expedition to the north and in to the tropical monsoon ‘wet’ season’, is astounding!

Green Mountains and Cullenbenbong…….by Bernard O’Reilly…with photos and illustrations. This signed copy by the author of the 1962 reprinted edition I inherited from our Aunt Violet. It has been sitting in my collection since 2004 after her passing. This book is an autobiography of Bernard O’Reilly and it takes place in the hinterland of South West Queensland in the McPherson Ranges spanning the time period from 1918 to 1939. The O’Reilly family moved from the Blue Mountains in New South Wales to take up a Selection which today lies within the Lamington National Park where they pioneered a dairy industry and later a tourist industry. In the first part of the book an account of how Bernard O’Reilly found and resued survivors of the Stinson Airliner crash of 1937 in the Lamington Forest . The book, wonderfully written about the hardships endured by the O’Reilly Family, in their quest to eke out a sustainable living on their selection. Cullenbenbong is an addendum to the book and describes life in the area of the Jenolan Ranges of New South Wales between the periods of 1903 and 1910.

In the Hands of Providence……………. by William.J.Peasley
A definitive work relating to the Desert Exploration Journeys of David Wynford Carnegie in 1896. Taking excerpts from Carnegie’s Diaries story of his adventures together with sketches and photographs of that era is wonderfully reproduced to keep the reader speelbound and in awe of these hardy adventurers.

The World in 1776……….by Marshall.B.Davidson
The author takes a historical look at how the World was operating politically at the time of the American Declaration of Independence. The book concentrates on the Northern Hemispere as many parts of the Southern Hemispere had not been colonised yet. It does not take into account the Indigenous Peoples as they played no part in world politics at that period in time. The book is published with maps and paintings of the era before and after that date. A fascinating read for me.

The Explorers…………………by Tim Flannery
Tim Flannery takes excerpts from stories written, journals by and true accounts of 63 Australian Explorers commencing in 1606 and culminating in 1977. These accounts also include Indigenous Explorers who helped White Men across this large continent

A Long Way Home………… Saroo Brierly.
An Auto-biography. The author relates his life’s journey from becoming a lost little boy in a remote part of India and then finding himself in a Boys Home and then an Orphanage at the age of 5 years. His life improves tremendously when he is adopted by an Australian couple and grows up in Tasmania. His longing, however, to see his Birth Mother and Siblings is great and he doggedly follows his own leads by using Google Earth to search for clues as to where his journey of life had started. At the age of 30 he finally finds the answer and is re-united with his original family. An inspirational book of determination and hope.

The Hard Light of Day………by Rod Moss.
An Auto-biography of an Artist’s story of friendships in Arrernte Country (Central Australia). A heart-warming story and a very good read as well as an insight into the cultural and tribal lives of Indigenous Inhabitants of Central Australia.

The Archaeology of Australia’s Deserts…….by Mike Smith
This is the first book-length study of the archaeology of Australia’s deserts, one of the world’s major habitats and largest block of dry-lands in the Southern Hemisphere. Mike Smith is the Senior Archaeologist at the National Museum of Australia and has worked in the arid zone for more than 30 years. For myself, as a very amateur archaeologist, this book can be difficult to read at times due to it’s scientific nature but I have taken in what I can, and have wanted to from it, to satisfy my curiosity of the lives of the ancient peoples, who have lived here for the past 50,000 or more years.

Making Connections…………A journey along Central Australian Aboriginal trading routes by Val Donovan and Colleen Wall
The books aims to give the reader another way of seeing the landscape of the days gone by when the First Australians established trade routes for Ochre, Pituri, Stone Axes and Shells and hiw many of these routes are Highways today where business and tourists drive the routes to their own destionations. I found the book fascinating as it tells stories of the Dreamtime of an area close to where I live.

The Boss Drover and his Mates…… Anne Marie Ingham
A delightful biography of Clarence (Clarrie) Pankhurst, Boss Drover of renown and his droving mates including Jack Charlton and Sid Howard. The story begins in the Depression Years and it relates the years of droving cattle from Wave Hill Station in the Northern Territory, which was then owned by the Vestey Company, to railheads in Western Queensland. The droving spans the era from the 1940’s through to the 1970’s when Road Trains took over from the tradional cattle drives. Its a wonderful read of an era almost forgotten now and the difficulties endured by those hardy stockmen. There are lighter moments too when the bushmen played tricks on one another or amusing incedents took place.

Where is Dr Leichhardt?………by Darrell Lewis
The Leichhardt Expedition with 7 men, 77 Horses, Mules and Bullocks and an enormous ampount of metal camping gear and scientific instruments vanished with out trace after 1848. Only a brass plate with the name Ludwig Leichhardt 1848 stamped on it, and 2 old mules were ever located. This is an exciting read for all those historians and bush travellers who have also wondered from time to time exactly what had happened to Ludwig Leichhardt and his companions after they set out from Sydney to cross the Australian Continent from east to west. The author examines all newspaper reports, sightings, exploratory searches, tales and hearsay over the past 165 years. At the end of the book he puts forward the various theories by well known researchers including his own.

Australia’s Muslim Cameleers: Pioneers of the Inland 1860’s to 1930’s………by Philip Jones and Anna Kenny.
The authors go to great lengths to research the contribution made by the nearly 2000 Cameleers from Afghanistan and Northern India who came to Australia during the time of Camel Transport. Some Cameleers were on a three eyar contract and then returned to their homelands while others stayed and made a life in Australia. During this time as many as 20,000 camels were imported to Australia. The book looks at the valued contribution the Cameleers made to the recent history of Australia and also the difficulties faced by them when Australia embarked on the ‘White Australia’ policy in 1901. The book contains many pictorials and also has an Alphabetical Index and Biographical Listing of the Cameleers including photographs of some of them.

The War Lord: by Malcolm Bosse…..
The story relates to a period of unrest in China and the fighting of War Lords and Political factions for power and control of the provinces of China. I found it a good read and it held my attention for all of the 736 pages.

Grot van Geheimenis: by Carol Smit (Hugo). The book is written in the Afrikaans language.
Carol and I were childhood friends in a time long ago and a place far away from where I am today. I am so chuffed that she has written and published a novel. It has surpassed all expectations. The story line is about a young man who, after the tragic death if his wife, becomes temporarily insane and takes revenge on society. He hides away in a secret cave and carries out his misdeeds from there.

Rock Art of the Dreamtime: by Dr Josephine Flood
Josephine Flood gives her research version of the Rock Art of the ancient peoples of the Great Southern Land

Aborigines, Artefacts and Anguish: by Ward McNally.
This is the Biography of Professor TEG Strehlow and his life of dedication in recording and writing about the Central Australian Arrernte Aborigines.

Hell, West and Crooked: by Tom Cole
An autobiograpy of droving, mustering and hunting set in Queensland and the Northern Territory from 1923. A fascinating read as I have been to or close by many of these iconic pastoral stations of the outback

The First Australians: by R.M. and C.H. Berndt
An anthropological look at Traditional Australian Aboriginal life and the effects of the coming of the White Man.

Mail for the Back of Beyond by John Maddock
A wonderful recollection of the early tramsport systems along the Birdsville Track, Strzelecki Track and from Broken Hill to the north of South Australia and into Queenlsand. The story centres around Harry Ding of Yunta who pioneered motor transport mail runs and the early use of Outpost Radios in vehicles.

Death in the Sand by Norm Barber
This is in E-book form at present and a tremendous amount of research has gone into the deaths of two young Jackeroos, Simon Amos and James Annetts in the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia in 1986. It is compelling reading.

Land of Mirage by Graham Farwell
The author of a number of books on faraway places, takes us on a magical journey by buggy, drawn by two camels, up the Birdsville Track from Marree in 1949. Although cars were about Farwell joins District Police Constable Eric Homes on his bi-annual trek through the gibber plains of the Strzelecki, Tirari, Perdika and Simpson Deserts doing his rounds whilst the author relates tales of colourful drovers of modern day and bygone eras. I loved every minute of it and especially the description of the mirages as seen on the plains

Goltros lag laaste by Carol Smit.
This is the second book by my childhood friend, Carol. It is written in  the Afrikaans language and it is a story of a dog which is mistreated by its owner, is rescued by a dog lover and later wreaks its revenge on its former owner. Inbetween there is attempted murder, smuggling, drug dealing and skulduggery.

Hubert Who? by Malcolm Andrews.
War Hero, Polar Explorer. Spy. The incredible life of Australia’s unsung adventurer, Sir Hubert Wilkins. If you wanted to read about adventure then this is the book you cannot put down.

A Far-Off Place  by Laurens van der Post
This South African writer relates a tale set in Central Southern Africa at an age-old travellers intersection. Terrorism evolves with the coming of a band of freedom fighters and the main characters, having had their house and livelihood destroyed escape by a narrow margin and live in a cave nearby until they are forced out and chased into the unforgiving Kalahari Desert where they are led by a bushman and his wife to safety over the period of one year. It is a fascinating read and having been to some of the places mentioned, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Smithy…The Life of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith by Ian Mackersey

The author has done a tremendous amount of research, writing his Biography of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and publishing it 61 years after Smithy vanished along the coast of Myanmar(Burma). I thoroughly enjoyed reading about those times long ago.

In the Half Light   by Jaqueline Kent
This is a delightful read of narratives of the lives of Children in their formative years from1900 to 1970. Some of the stories portray a hard life as we would see it today

Van Diemen’s Land…An Aboriginal History of  Tasmania by Murray Johnson and Ian McFarlane
This book is a study of the history and the deprivation of liberty of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Groups by the European Invaders. It is a compelling read and a sober thought provoker. Quote by Henry Reynolds: A study that will remain essential and relevant for years to come

Great Australian Ute Stories……..Edited by John Bryant
John Bryant has a love affair with utes. He started a business Bluey’s Ute World. His love for all things Australian saw him sponsor the first Deni Ute Muster where the arrival of 2839 Utes amazed everyone. This book is a collection of stories about utes and is very entertaining to read.

Working Dogs…… Angela Goode
A great read as well, especially if you are a lover of dogs. Stories from all around Australia about dogs on the land helping their masters work the sheep or cattle. Some of the stories are about dogs with character  or attitude

When I was younger I used to read Westerns but over the years I have gone away from reading fiction. However, whilst caravanning in 2015, I picked up a Di Morrissey book at an Op Shop and have since become an avid reader of her stories. Her writing style is engaging and she writes about places that I have visited or spent time at and her books are mostly about Australia. So I will list the books below with a very short summary.

Di Morrissey:

Heart of the Dreaming……Farming life and families and long lost loves
The Last Rose of Summer:….Roses play a great part in this great story which has so many twists and turns and I reckon, to my mind, it is the best tale of them all.
Follow the Morning Star…..The sequel to Heart of the Dreaming and the exploits of Queenie and TR
The Last Mile Home………a tale about love, anger, tragedy and sadness all in one set in Northern New South Wales in a farming community.
Tears of the Moon…….Story about the early days of pearling in Broome and through  WW2
When the singing stops: …..An Australian owned Mine in Guiyana, Central America needs upgrading. The story evolves around a Mining Trouble-shooter and his sister. An interesting book especially all the Creole language
The Songmaster.…Story about people and aboriginal art and the Kimberley
Scatter the Stars……The story about an early Australian Movie Superstar
Blaze…….Story about International Magazine publications with an Australian twist to it. An intense read
The Bay………………..The life and times of the Community at Beacon Bay (Byron Bay)
Kimberley Sun:……….The life and times of the people of Broome and the lure of pearls
Barra Creek…Story about a governess on a remote cattle station in Queensland
The Reef…..A story of life on a coal quay at a resort and at a Scientific village on the Great Barrier Reef
The Valley.….Another engaging book about the Hunter Valley north of Sydney. Lara goes back to her roots in Cedartown to dig  out secrets of the past
Monsoon……………..Soldiers revisiting Vietnam 40 years later
The Islands.………. A beautiful story about a girl from country New South Wales who falls in love with an American Naval Officer but then she discovers the love and dark secrets of the Hawaiian Native people. I could not put the book down and fell into the story myself. A great read.
The Silent Country……..There lies a secret deep in the Outback of the Northern Territory
The Plantation……..Set in the Malayan Jungle during WW2
Opal Desert…..Story about life on the Opal Fields of White Cliffs and Lightning Ridge
The Golden Land..A fascinating tale of a Burmese artefact that finds its way through history to Australia and is returned to its rightful owner in Myanmar
The Winter Sea…….A Tale about a Fisherman Immigrant from Italy
The Road Back….Story about a journalist who is forced to change his career path
Rain Music….Story about people, music, Cooktown, Far North Queensland, and a brother and sister
A Distant Journey…….Cindy an American College Student meets Murray, a sheep farmer from Australia in Palm Springs, they fall in love and get married in Las Vegas before they return to a sheep station in Australia and as time progresses Cindy digs up the past which everyone wants to forget. Another enjoyable read
The Red Coast…………The fight to save the sacred land north of Broome from developers
Arcadia……..Tale about fungi and love trysts in an Old Growth Forest of Southern Tasmania. We travelled Tasmania for 3 months in 2016 and loved it. The story is so life-like for me. A very enjoyable book
The Last Paradise:……The story winds around a young advertising executive with a broken marriage and as chance to renew her career taking her young son with her. Only later does she learn the truth about her ex-husbands dealings and the financial mess he had created. The story moves from New South Wales to Bali and a lost Kingdom. The story-line is very well researched and as usual the author has you spell-bound reading it.

Blue Peaks and Red Ridges by Peter Muir. This is a 16 month Diary of a Dogger in Western Australia for 1965 and 1966. Peter Muir is the Dogger for the Western Australia Agriculture Protection Board. He is given a Landrover 4×4 and supplies to explore the Carnarvon Ranges and Rabbit Proof Fence and 15km east of there to effect Dingo and Wild dog control. I found it a fascinating read.

The River by Patrice Newell
A story about olive growers, mines, horse breeders and crop growing along the Pages River in New South Wales Hunter Valley Region

I, the Aboriginal by Douglas Lockwood
When I arrived in Australia 50 years ago, one of the earliest books I read was the life story about Waipuddanya (Phillip Roberts) and how he combatted and eventually accepted his role astride two cultures that were poles apart. It is a must read if you want to learn about the aboriginal culture of those living in the tropics of Northern Australia.

The Spice Route by John Keay
This is a fascinating read of the history of the Spice Route which developed first overland, 500 BC from Asia to Europe and then by sea in the 16th Century. The period of 2500 years of development of moving foodstuff across the world.

Innamincka by Elizabeth Burchill.
A lovely biography of Elizabeth for the time spent as a Sister at the Australian Inland Mission which was the brainchild of Dr Flynn who created the Flying Doctor  Service. The period goes from 1930 to 1932 and it shows how far removed from civilization Innamincka was in those years.

The Swagman by Allan M Nixon.
After thinking about it for a long time and gathering information the author has put together some of the history and the Depressions of the late 1800’s and the 1930’s when many, men in particular were unemployed. The book also gives short biographical essays of real swagmen still alive in the mid 1980’s when this book was published. I enjoyed the read immensely

Bushman of the Red Heart by Judy Robinson
Ben Nicker 1908 – 1941, was the Bushman, third son of Sam and Liz Nicker, pastoralist pioneers of Central Australia. The story starts in Queensland and ends in Central Australia in the Northern Territory. Ben was an extraordinary human. Mostly self taught he could speak nine aboriginal dialects, was an avid reader and dreamer and someone who an uncanny way of finding the right direction when meandering through the bush on the hump of a camel. He was well liked in Alice Springs when on occasions the boys were in Alice Springs to let their hair down and well respected as a bushman. He was fascinated by wars and read all he could about them. When the 2nd World War broke out he enlisted. He caught a bit shrapnel in his buttock in 1941. His mates had to leave him in the hospital in Greece and he lay there for seven days with the same dressing and died when gangrene set in. He could have given so much more of himself but it was not to be

Going Bush by James Dixon
A Yorkeshire-man settles in Australia and has many escapades and jobs in the inland of Western Australia. The book is a collection of happenings in James Dixon’s life and was easy to read.

The Foundling by Mary Talbot  Cross
An engrossing tale of an orphan’s journey from the Moors of Devon in Cornwall to the Burra Burra Mine near the township of Kooringa in South Australia. The girl, July (Julia) Stephen, who, through her formative years. manages to survive by her wits. Sailing to Australia with her family in steerage class, she works as a servant until life takes a new direction for her. I still need to read Fortunes Fool which is the continuing story of July(Julie)

Fortune’s Fool….The road beyond Eureka by Mary Talbot Cross
The continuing story about the trials and tribulations of Miss July(Julie Stephen. From a Foundling in Devon to the palatial halls of a Home in Madras, India the story continues to a conclusion. I loved every minute of reading the novel where the author spins the story through real events and to places I have been.

The Man who never sleeps by Levin. A .Diatschenko
I was given this book by Dorothy Grimm, an American friend, who lived in Alice Springs. This book is dedicated to Jack and Dorothy Grimm and their sons Schaffer and Dwight. Jack Grimm worked at Pine Gap for a contractor and did two stints working there. Both sons were born in Australia. The Grimms, after living in Australia for twenty seven years, had to leave their adopted country in November in 2018. I believe that they have shifted to Hawaii. Dorothy, for many years, worked for News Limited and the Centralian Advocate and I net her there through my wife Judith, also worked for the Centralian Advocate from mid-1993 to mid-1995. After we had settled in South Australia contact was made again though a Film Festival in Terowie of all places. We have kept in touch ever since. Their apartment in Alice Springs was called the Black Cloud because Murphy shifted in from time to time. Jack would prepared the Grimm Report on their travels each year in Australia and overseas. Jack and Dorothy are Luddites shunning computers but using Mobile phones non the less. Jack produced The Grimm Report on a 1980’s model Commodore 64 computer.
I did not understand anything in this book which is centered around Darwin, Alice Springs, deserts west of Alice Springs and Adelaide. It all seems to be tales relating to weird dreams. I give it a 1 out of 10

Just about having read all of Di Morrisey’s books I was steered in the direction of Peter Watt. He is an extraordinary Australian author taking a leaf out of Wilbur Smith’s writing and combining historicalfacts with fiction. After I had read To Chase the storm I discovered that there were three books before that extolling the family histories of the MacIntosh and Duffy Families. So I hunted all the books down and started reading. I have also found a Facebook Page for Peter Watt and have become a Friend.

Peter Watt:

Cry of the Curlew……………The tale starts on the Queensland cattle station Glen View where the Squatter Donald MacIntosh, with the help of the Native Police, does a Dispersal of the Darrambal People living on their traditional lands where a white man’s station has appeared. 99% of the Nerambura Tribe are slaughtered and a curse is put on the land on the MacIntosh Families. The one remaining member of the tribe isWallarie, is saved by a Bullocky  Patrick Duffy and his side kick, Billy, also an aboriginal man, but they too are murdered by the Native Mounted Police

Shadow of the Osprey…………..The saga of a bitter feud between the MacIntosh’s and the Duffy’s continues along the coastal plains of the frontier land called Queensland. Kate Duffy marries a nohoper called  Kevin O’Keefe and they set off to the Goldfields of the Palmer River. Meanwhile Michael Duffy, soldier of fortune falls in love with Fiona MacIntosh and she gets pregnant. In the mean time Michael, protecting his family and that of the MacIntosh’s kills an assassin and has to disappear in a hurry. The story unfolds from there.

Flight of the Eagle……….The family saga continues in Sydney, Ireland, the deserts of the Middle East, Glen View Station in Queensland, Rockhampton and Townsville, bustling towns of Mid and Far North Queensland

To Chase the Storm ……. The Duffy and the McIntosh families are intermarried living in Sydney, Townsville and Stations out in Western Queensland. The time is around 1899 at the commencement of the Boer War in South Africa. Men seeking adventure enlist in the Queensland Colony Brigade. Matthew is only 14 years of age but can pass for 18. He has a forged Birth Certificate. Saul is a stockman, who has just lost his farm with his father dying suddenly and he is an expert bushman and joins up. Major Patrick Duffy, having fought in Sudan, joins as a special liaison officer. Their lives are entwined. Then there is a curse of an aboriginal man, the last of his tribe. An exciting read and I read deep into the night.

To touch the Clouds……….The age of the aeroplane arrives and young Mathew Duffy has taken to being a pilot. His Mother Kate (Duffy) /Tracey, gives birth to him by herself and the help of an Aboriginal Mid-wife who just happened to be in the area. The legendary Wallarie. No one knows for sure if he is real or nacient spirit of the Nerambura Tribe. Matthhew was a hero at Elands River in the Cape Colony and the Boer War but was then caught as being underage and sent home. In the mean time his father never returned from a prospecting trip, Kate goes on to work hard and amass a fortune in landholdings and cash.

To Ride the wind.…..Patrick Duffy is fighting in World War One. Meanwhile is Sydney George MacIntosh schemes to have his sister Fernella, murdered in California, and have his brother transferred from his Training Camp in Australia, to the Western Front in Europenwhere he was bound to be killed as George dreams of having total control of the MacIntosh group of companies. matthew Duffy is flyimg lookout sorties over enemy territory when he is shot down. The tale continues…….

Beyond the horizon…While Tom and Matthew Duffy are fighting a terrible last year of the war on the Western Front, back in Sydney, George Mackintosh is fuming at the stipulations of his Father’s Will.

War Clouds gather
And Fire Falls
Beneath the Rising Sun
While the Moon Burns
From the Stars Above…. This is the book that is the conclusion to the Duffy/Macintosh series where their lives clash time and again while the Aboriginal Curse still weaves its magic potion into the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Frontier Series which follows the Duffy and Macintosh families from 1850 through to the 1970’s. The Author, Peter Watt has weaved his fictional tale around historical facts . Towards the end of the series he faded some sections of the families out and I was looking forward to read ‘what happened to Kate?’ but it was not to be, as the Author explained to me, as I had made enquires about this.

Other books by Peter Watt:

The Frozen Circle… Peter Watt. Another book that I could not put down reading over three nights until way past the bewitching hour. After the treaty of Versailles the British spy agency MI6 is alerted to the fact that a member of the Czar’s Family may have escaped and was trying to reach Europe. Major Locksley is picked to head a secret expeditionary force. Twp Australian Commissioned Officers are asked to join the British Army as Non-commissioned Officers, to see that Major Locksley gets to his destination. He tells them nothing and the tale goes on from there. A brilliant book which brings the trauma of WW2 out and tests the loyalties of the of all those involved. Graphic and gratuitous violence marks the trend of the book. The tale begins and ends in Australia.

The Silent Frontier.…….by Peter Watt. This tale takes us back to 1854 and the Eureka Stockade and then the 1860’s and the Maori Wars in New Zealand and eventually moves right up to Cooktown in Australia. Another thrilling read with a host of characters. Very well researched. An enjoyable read.

Eden……… The struggle to occupy Papua New Guinea

Papua…….Still to read

And the is another trilogy in The Queen’s Tiger….Still to read

Yuval Noah Harari

A brief history of Humankind,  Homo Sapiens.
It is a fascinating read. Harari is a Historian at the University of Jerusalem with a Doctorate in Archaeology and he delves into how humans evolved over 2 million years.


A brief History of Tomorrow. The book explores the possibilities of human development over the next 80 years to the year 2100


Each Lesson is dissected into further lessons. A fascinating read

The Book Thief …………by Markus Zusak
An acclaimed book with a film that follows (I have not seen it yet). I found it a rather sad tale but the outcome at the end was good, was it not?

It is 1939, and the scene is set on the outskirts of Munich, Germany where two children are fostered out but one dies along the way. At the funeral just near the rail lines the young girl sees something sticking out of the Gravediggers rubble. It is a book. The girl reaches down and takes The Gravedigger’s Handbook, conceals it under her jacket. The Escort takes het to her new family. She is to;d to call them, Papa and Mama. Hans, her foster-father, is a kindly man. Young Liesel, although she has the book, they find out that she is illiterate and so begins her education in Papa’s Paint Cellar downstairs. Liesel’s  story unfolds, and ends in Sydney, Australia.

My partner and best friend of 50 years just love doing Garage Sales and visiting Op Shops and is forever on the lookout for Australiana for ,my library, which is full by the way. On top of that a young lady ,here in town, has started  a Book Club and now I am ordering books through our local Library.

This one Judith found:

An Outback Nurse by Thea Hayes…….This is an Autobiography of young lady from Sydney who finishes her schooling and then goes to Nursing School. After qualifying she and some friends take a year’s Sabbatical and go wander around in England and Europe. Then she decides to come home after pining for her boyfriend of the time. On arrival back in Sydney she does a Birthing Course and qualifies for that. Some friends talk her in to going on a trip to Uluru(Ayers Rock) and she agrees. In the mean time, on a whim, she applies for a position as a Nurse on the remote Wave Hill Station owned by the English Vestey’s Group. She goes off with her friends and then receives a telegram to say that her application to Wave Hill has been accepted and her life is changed forever. She spends most of her life on the station, marries a Farm Manager, raises 4 children and looks after everyone in the vicinity of Wave Hill. An enjoyable read and an insight in to station life.

Shearers Motel by Roger McDonald……..The period takes us to the 1980’s, before mobile phones at least. The writer finds himself cooking for a team of New Zealand Shearers out in Central and Western New South Wales. He is a good cook and the Shearers like him. He drives and old yellow two-wheel-drive truck at a steady slow speed along the back roads of the various properties the Shearers frequent for work.

Chess Raven ‘the girl who fell’ by Violet Grace….Story tells the tale of a young girl who is struggling with her life. She is orphaned and then as she grows up she is looked after by Larry and Sharon, Foster Carers. Larry is a beast and hits out at Chess quite often connecting. Chess goes out of the house and does some crime and is caught and placed on probation with a wealthy man by the name of Maxwell. Then one day Chess slips into another dimension and learns that she is heir to the Throne of the Fae (Fairies) and her life takes a different direction on the day she turns 16 and comes of age. Then her life comes in contact with extreme danger. The conclusion of this first part of the Chronicles of Chess Raven is where she becomes the Fairy Queen. Light reading and I just love all the morphing bits.

Chess Raven ‘the girl who chose’ by Violet Grace….The story continues with a pre-arranged marriage disguised as an Alliance. The Fairy Queen, Chess, refuses to marry Prince Victor of the House of Grigio and all out hunt and kill emanates from there onwards with the Mermaids thrown in to the story for good measure, as the whole tale takes place in Venice. The scroll from the book Veritas holds the key to restoration to the suspended life of Queen Cordelia of the House of Raven. The storyline is one of doubt and insecurity. This is the sequel to the previous book about Fairies and Humans intermarrying, where Fairies are the same size as Humans. Those born with chromium in their blood have access to The Art. The latter is a form of power that can be streamed as shockwaves to disable the enemy. Portals can me carved in a wall to jump from one place to another and I just love the science fiction!

Australian Desperadoes by Terry Smyth. This is historical fact writing about a mob of Australian Gangsters who moved to California during the days of the gold rush, 1848-1855. In a part of San Francisco they commandeered a section of the housing and during those lawless days were responsible for many murders and wounding. The law of California was ineffectual and so the good citizens of the town set up a Vigilante Association, and one by one hanged those Sydney Coves, as they were called until the Sydney Coves were whittled out, The balance of Australians retired back to Australia by the end of 1856.

On a Wing and a Prayer by Di Websdale-Morrissey. We were driving in the country listening to Richard Fidler interviewing Author Di Websdale-Morrissey and I thought it was the Australian Fiction writer Di Morrissey and I have read most of her books and so I ordered the book from my Newsagent where I buy all my books. When it arrived I saw that I had been duped. Nevertheless…….

The book covers the 1934 Air Race from London to Melbourne. It was a fascinating read and the author wrote it like a fiction novel and it was hard to put it down late at night.

South African Eden  by  LtCol J. Stevenson-Hamilton. This is a biography of the formation of the Kruger National Park in South Africa and the trials and tribulations of Hamilton’s Wardenship of 44 years of saving wildlife from being hunted to extinction and of changing the perception of people that wildlife has value to it. I have visited the Park on two occasions. Once in 1973 together with my wife, Judith and my Brother, Bernie and once 1982 together with Judith and friends Maureen Lawson and George Griffin and we always had some hair raising wildlife encounters.

Botha, Smuts and South Africa by A.F.Basil Williams. Out of nowhere one day Des Parker came over for a coffee and presented me with this little book of the history of these two stalwarts of the Boer War, Peace at Vereeniging, The induction of the Union of South Africa within the British Empire, World War 1, the Depression, World War 11, the writing of the Charter of the United Nations and the steering of South Africa through these difficult times. I found the book quite an entertaining read and a revisiting of my erstwhile history.

Jan 2020

Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe. The Author has researched this very well and quotes from the work of many others arguing for the case to dismiss the nomenclature of Hunter Gatherer for Aboriginal People of Australia and replacing it with Settlers. He states that Aborigines practiced agriculture as far back as 12000 years ago until their lands were taken from them from 1788 and  onwards, to the present days. They now have the luxury of Native Title over their own land.The use of fire as a tool to advance agricultural practices and mosaic farming. Whereas the early colonists were dismissive of the Aboriginal Culture, today we must revisit their lore and look to them for guidance as they had thousands of years experience in fire management and agricultural practices. Australia must stop hiding its history and it’s past and embrace it instead. The book copped a lot of flak from anthropologists and others and so did I from some people I no long wish to be friends with.

With the sun on my back by J.K.Ewers. The author went on a six month journey north of the 20th parallel in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Cape York.Queensland, Writing for Walkabout Magazine he describes his journey to these place of interest in 1949 and 1950. He meets up with the fabled Bill Harney and others. He sums it up in the end of the book stating that nothing except pastoral farming is good for the area. As we know, mining set the north on course to development.

Hunting Fear by Benji Brundin…An Autobiographical blog of adversity, depression, mental illness and stubbornness, pushing the envelope and eventually triumph. The author sets out to visit all extremities of the Australian landmass after tremendous upheaval in his life. He works hard at achieving something, and just at the pinnacle of success, he is cut off and discarded due to something he had done in his past and that was old history but had come to light through his writing. His marriage fails, he loses his house and at the end of this part of his life he decides to go and find himself again. Mentally in a dark place he needs to hunt for new experience and battle with fear of failure. Much of this book is about riding a motorcycle over some of the most corrugated roads and tracks in the remotest parts of this continent and in doing so he sets a record for the Guinness Book of Records. I have visited all of the places he writes about, though in the comfort of a 4×4 vehicle. I, however, did not experience the fear he talks about, as I have done during my lifetime of adventures.

I have had a hiatus with reading as that time has been taken up watching NETFLIX movies. Now I have oportuned time in the early morning when the house is still quiet for reading

Canning Stock Route (The 4W Driver’s Guide) by Phil Bianchi An up to (Pandemic Time) date account on what to expect along the route an many other tips for a safe and enjoyable holiday along the famous CSR, the longest single track in the world.

Northern Territory Sketchbook Drawings by Ainslie Roberts and words by Douglas Lockwood. A delightful little book of just 64 pages in hardcopy. Written in the late 1960’s, just about the time that I arrived in Australia the authors take you on a historical journey from just a little south of Alice Springs up the Stuart Highway and also out to the Gulf Region. Well worth a read if you are after a bit of nostalgia.

THE SOME OF US by the Dudley Writers Group. Stories of Kangaroo Island. A delightful read by writers in the Dudley Group depicting early history of the settlement of South Australia with the Town of Kingscote being the first ‘European Settlement in South Australia. We visited Kangaroo Island in early in 2021 and now that I have read some of the stories a return visit is a must.