A Night in the Woodend Lockup

Australians have always loved a yarn where someone makes a fool out of a policeman. This true story comes from Woodend in the Macedon Ranges, Victoria, way back in 1902.   A young constable by the name of McKane was trying to arrest an out-of-control drunk outside the local hotel, but the drunk knew how…

Barbara of the Kaurareg

The year was 1843, and Barbara Thompson was just thirteen years old. At this tender age she had already emigrated with her family from Scotland to Australia, and was living as the de facto wife of a man called William Thompson. They were both on board the cutter America when it ran into a reef…

The Hammer of Ramenskoye

With Moscow in lock-down over a Chechen terror threat, FSB agent Alessandro Karsyov and his partner Ira dream of being at the forefront of the action. Instead they are sent to a dreary apartment block in the Kapotnya district to investigate an elderly woman’s complaint that a group of men in a nearby room threatened…

Assisted Immigration

Assisted immigration was a scheme where the Australian colony of Victoria sent agents to the United Kingdom, drumming up interest in the wide open spaces, sunshine, and opportunities offered in this new land. The colony paid for the passage of families and individuals, aiming to boost Victoria’s population relative to New South Wales, and eventually,…

The Snowy Mountains Scheme

  People talk about renewable energy as if it’s something new. Yet, Australia’s largest renewable energy project was begun in 1949. It took twenty-five years to build, cost 121 lives during construction, and produces 10% of NSW’s power needs along with a significant supply to Victoria.   Early last century the high snow-melt flows of…

Nat Buchanan

The greatest drover the world has ever known was an unassuming Irish-born Australian with an even temper, incredible organisational skills and an unerring sense of direction. Nat ‘Bluey’ Buchanan was a bushman par excellence with a passion for new horizons. He single-handedly opened up more country than some of our most famous explorers. Nat’s family…

The Piracy of the Ethel

John A Reddell was the owner of a fleet of pearl luggers operating out of Broome, Western Australia. He personally skippered the supply ship for the fleet, a brig by the name of Ethel, and was known as a hard man who pushed his crews to the limit. In 1899 he sailed out of Roebuck…

Paddy Cahill

Paddy Cahill was originally from the Darling Downs, but he made his name in the Northern Territory as a bushman, stockman and buffalo hunter. Paddy and his two brothers, Tom and Matt, all cut their teeth with the famous Nat Buchanan on one of Australia’s biggest cattle drives, from St George in Queensland to Glencoe…

Catherine Coleman – Pioneer

Catherine Cecilia Coleman wasn’t famous, but was typical of a generation of Australian settlers. She was born in Maitland, NSW in 1856, eldest of ten children. She married in 1871, at the age of 15, and had the first of her own children a couple of years later. Her husband, John Douglas Coleman, was determined…