Saturday, February 4, 2023

Reviews & Releases

New release

Dino fills a gap in stories of Italian migrants

When Dino Polese was three years old, he went looking for his father Angelo in the banana crops at Naughtons Gap. He got tired and fell asleep under a tree. “They came and found me,” Dino said. “They” refers to the Italian community who settled in Naughtons Gap near Casino between 1945 and the late 1970s.


Review – Why Do Birds Do That?

Whether you are an avid bird watcher or simply a casual admirer I highly recommend adding this to your bookshelf for ready reference. Trust me, you’ll need it - as some people may not believe you when you tell them about some of the avian oddities described.

Review – The Unbelieved

If you’re stocking up your summer reading pile, Vikki Petraitis’ debut novel The Unbelieved should definitely be up for your consideration ... My flight was only an hour but I got halfway through the book in that time, as the story grabbed me and wouldn’t let go ... The twist near the end that I was waiting for came, but it was multilayered and not predictable or easily puzzled out.

New releases

Four lambs! Tale of Queenie the supermum launches new author

Sheep farmer Suzanne Lewis has just published her first children’s book and had no further to look for something to write about than her own front paddock. “Queenie the Quad Lady” is the story of a remarkable ewe that captured Suzanne’s heart after giving birth to four lambs and successfully raising them all despite all the trials and tribulations a sheep can face.

Beyond the Fence: Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board 1892-2022

This intriguing book was launched in Warwick last week by Chair of Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board (DDMRB) Lockyer Valley Regional Councillor Janice Holstein. It tells the Board’s story and that of rabbits in Australia. The DDMRB maintains the oldest and longest purpose-built, rabbit-proof barrier fence still in use in Australia, if not the world.

New release

Railway history

A History of the Castlemaine to Maryborough Railway is a recently published book written by Ken James and David Langley. At 428 pages, it’s a doorstopper of a book that is painstakingly researched, well-illustrated and comprehensive in its scope. For railway tragics and history buffs, it’s a must-buy; and for others, it’s a cracking good read.

Book launch

Book launch marks Osbornes’ Carmarthen centenary

Patricia Gill. Historian Malcolm Traill officially launched Ian Osborne’s book, The Osbornes of Group 41 Carmarthen, at the Osborne farm on December 4. The event marked the century since Ian’s grandparents, Group Settlers George and Edith Osborne, took up the property and a century since the 15 Group Settlers arrived in the district.

New releases

New release – Remote as Ever

In Remote as Ever, David Scrimgeour tells the story of his working life as a doctor in isolated communities in Australia's Western Desert in the late 1970s. Being involved in the Homelands movement and the Aboriginal community-controlled health campaign gave him significant insight into the strength of the Aboriginal struggle for autonomy - a struggle too often undermined by government policy.

New release – Banjo Paterson: A Life in Pictures and Words from the Banjo Paterson Family Archive

Notebooks, illustrations, photographs, letters and transcripts of some of our best-loved songs, poems and stories have been brought together for the first time. Banjo's great-grandson and sole executor of the poet's literary estate, Alistair Campbell, has curated this rare collection and provides intimate commentary on his famous relative.

New release – Tiwi Textiles: Design, Making, Process

Tiwi Textiles: Design, Making, Process tells the story of the innovative Tiwi Design centre on Bathurst Island in northern Australia, dedicated to the production of hand-printed fabrics featuring Indigenous designs, from the 1970s to today.


Review – Once Were Wild

Author Leslie Scott never expected that a rumour about wild horses roaming on a mountain near her home would consume months of her life and result in such a deep connection between animal and human. Set in rural Victoria, Once Were Wild is an easy-to-read book that recounts the moment Leslie finds two brumbies amongst the rugged terrain of Mount Beckworth near the town of Clunes.


Where Lies The Heart

Where Lies The Heart is a rollicking tale set in the 1800's about whaling in the South Pacific, the cedar getters of the 'Big Scrub' in the far North Coast of New South Wales and the convicts of Norfolk Island.

New releases

New release – Great Australian Places

Australia's master storyteller takes us all around the country, uncovering tales of unsolved crimes, early exploration and military exploits, fascinating natural phenomena and iconic destinations.

New release – The Complete Trip in a Van Guide to Australia

Plan the trip of a lifetime with expert advice and a full itinerary from Australia's most popular travelling family. In the seven years since the 'Trip In A Van' family set off on their first adventure, they've covered tens of thousands of kilometres and become Australia's most popular travelling family.

New release – Wish You Were Here

As a kid brought up on a cattle property in the New England Tablelands, Reggie Macleod vows she is going to swap the country for city life as soon as she can. And she's followed her dream. Everything is going to plan. Until one phone call rocks her world entirely.


Review – Big Things Grow

Sarah Donnelley's book Big Things Grow has been called a love song to a small country town but it is also a love song to the profession of teaching ... Sarah's beautifully written memoir recounts key events of her four fulfilling years working in what was a complex and challenging environment.

Review – My Father and Other Animals

Sam’s memoir tells the story of his journey from farmhand to farmer. Along the way, it also explores the changing nature of farming, the complications of farm succession, and less traditional approaches to agriculture ... I had tears well up at some points, and laughed out loud at others.

New releases

New release – Maestro of Madness

During this year as I have been promoting my novel, Maestro of Madness, I have been asked so many times why I turned to writing fictional novels at my advanced age ... Eddie Philipson is the main protagonist who was diagnosed with PTSD when he was 44 and the storyline picks up with his battle with the insidious disorder ... I was fortunate enough to have good knowledge with PTSD as I have the dreaded disorder as a Vietnam Vet and so was able to adapt some of the experiences I have had in learning to manage PTSD.

New release – The 1982-83 Victorian Bushfire Season, Including Ash Wednesday – 16 February 1983 – A Forester’s Perspective

Forty years ago, south eastern Australia was in the middle of a prolonged drought and facing a perilous bushfire season. A new e-book by retired Victorian forester, Peter McHugh, provides a detailed account of the 1982-83 bushfire season from a new perspective ... It was a long and hectic fire season for the Forests Commission Victoria (FCV) which attended 878 fires on State forests and National Parks totalling 486,030 ha, which was well above the 11-year average of 141,000 ha.


Review – Farm – the making of a climate activist

A good place to start reading Farm is at the back. That may sound counterintuitive but by taking a look at the extensive bibliography you’ll quickly see how intensely researched the book is which adds weight to the arguments and questions it presents. While Farm is a memoir that chronicles the journey of Nicola Harvey and her husband after they leave their city lives to farm cattle in rural New Zealand, it is far more than that.


Review – A Remarkable Woman

Fashion, culture, romance and a storyline peppered with twists and turns - what's not to love about A Remarkable Woman ... if you’re a lover of fashion, romance, outback life and a darn good story, this book makes a great summer holiday read. It’ll keep you turning the pages from start to finish and remind you that, in life and in love, “timing is everything”.

Review – Outback Teacher

I was unexpectedly, and in the end pleasantly, surprised to find a story that is as much about 1950s and 1960s Australia as it is about one young woman’s experiences. It is the north-west Western Australia of Aboriginal missions, of cultural clashes, of extremes in temperature and of distance, of hardships tempered by moments of joy, of connections made and still treasured more than half a century later.

New release

New release – Why Do Birds Do That?

An entrancing, informative book filled with answers to many of the common questions we ask about birds and their lives. For thousands of years birds have fascinated us. We've observed what they do - their behaviours, their characteristics, their survival skills, the food they eat and their habitats - and wondered why they do it.

New release

Local author booking success

Emma Pritchard. When Clarence Valley resident Paul MacNamara decided to transition from an everyday teacher to an education officer in the prison system, he found himself in an unfamiliar classroom with strict settings and new students. Some were sex offenders and murderers, others were serving time for armed robbery, drug offences, or breaking and entering ... "I noticed that people of all ages would ask me about my job and what is was like to teach in a gaol," he recalled.

New release

New book – The Men of the 2/26 Battalion

A book by two authors, one of them an Allora local, delves into the war years of the brave men of the 2/26 Battalion. Read through the personal interviews, family stories and archive research of the military history and personal history of the men compiled by two dedicated women, daughters of two of the soldiers - Norm Newport and Bill Anderson - who were mates in the 2/26 Battalion.

New release and review

Book review – Great Properties of Country Victoria

The book demonstrates, through both the truly beautiful photography of Kimbal Baker and the meticulous detail regarding agricultural practices and the history of the establishments provided by Richard Allen, that properties are far more than houses. They are the land and the farming businesses which sustain the families, which the houses protect, and who, in turn, create, manage and develop the farming businesses which sustain the land and the houses. Each supporting and nurturing the other.

New release – Great Properties of Country Victoria

A new, updated edition of this bestselling title featuring stunning photography of the great mansions of the Western District.


Book review – Of Marsupials and Men

We Australians pride ourselves on our native animals. Koalas, kangaroos, wombats, deadly snakes, platypuses (platypi?), drop bears, emus … just some of the animals that have spent millions of years evolving separately from the rest of the world’s fauna on this island nation of ours. But most of us probably don’t think too much about them during our day-to-day lives. Alistair Paton’s “Of Marsupials and Men” puts a spotlight on men (and the occasional woman) who made Australia’s wildlife the centre of their lives.

New release

New release – Clarke

A compelling new novel from the bestselling author of Goodwood and Cedar Valley ... 'Clarke is illuminated with such wonderful, vivid characters. Rarely have I felt so deeply invested in a story - I loved this book so much. Throsby is a supremely gifted storyteller, and Clarke truly is a wonder.' Mark Brandi.

New releases

New release – Growing Up in Country Australia

Growing Up in Country Australia is a fresh, modern look at country Australia. There are stories of joy, adventure, nostalgia, connection to nature and freedom, but also more grim tales – of drought, fires, mouse plagues and isolation.

New release – Once Were Wild

A captivating memoir about a woman's passion to save the wild brumbies who mysteriously appeared on the rugged landscape of the Mount Beckworth State Forest.

New release – My Father and Other Animals

A moving and hilarious fish-out-of-water memoir of a millennial leaving his inner-city life to take over the family farm. Sam Vincent is a twenty-something writer in the inner suburbs, scrabbling to make ends meet, when he gets a call from his mother: his father has stuck his hand in a woodchipper, but ‘not to worry – it wasn’t like that scene in Fargo or anything’.

New releases

New release – A Remarkable Woman

From postwar Paris to Australia to find love, fashion and freedom. One woman's quest to follow her head, and her heart. Twenty-six-year-old Frenchwoman Avril Montdidier sails from Paris to Australia with a suitcase and a dream: to start her own fashion business.

New release – Rachel

Rachel Kennedy stood out on a wild frontier dominated by men ... her extraordinary and unputdownable pioneering story is told for the first time ... Rachel Kennedy was a colonial folk hero. Born in the wild and remote Warrumbungle mountains of western New South Wales in 1845, she was described by Duke Tritton of The Bulletin as Australia's greatest pioneer woman of them all.

New release

New release – Unmaking Angas Downs

A new work of history that seeks to unmake mythologies of pioneers, pastoralism and possession in the Northern Territory. 'A rare and wonderful book ... Unmaking Angas Downs is a profound act of listening, and a dazzling piece of historical scholarship.' Billy Griffiths

Book launch

Adyi ngadya arraygi ngulungginy, ngamiiga

Geoff Helisma. Translated from the Yaygirr dialect (historically spoken near the mouth of the Clarence River) these words are: ‘Hello there, how are you; this is Yaegl country. I remember my Elder men and Elder women.’ On Friday July 22, as part of the NAIDOC Week exhibition of Yaegl Elders portraits at the Yamba Museum, a book was launched, Keeping our Stories - Stories from Yaegl Country.

New release

New release – A Good Yarn

David Vernon’s latest book, A Good Yarn, provides a fascinating insight into how popular myths are made and can wield influence not just at the time of their invention, but for years, even generations to come. A Good Yarn shines a spotlight onto seven historical events that have grown into Australian legends.

Book review – A Good Yarn

A fascinating concept – reviewing the historical background to an array of possibly tall and maybe true tales from Australia’s past ... The author has gone to a lot of trouble to combine excellent research and footnotes with an enjoyable set of short stories able to be read easily. We are introduced to some beguiling tales from Australia's past, some of which may be familiar to us whereas others may be new discoveries.

New release – Paperbark Hill

A pitch-perfect rural romance from the bestselling author of Magpie's Bend. Diana McIntyre and her four boys have had a tough eighteen months but with the love and support of her family, she believes their lives are finally back on track. Diana's dream of starting a flower farm has been the perfect diversion, with an elderly dahlia expert showing her the ropes. She won't have to do this alone.

New release

Jacaranda book sales blooming

Emma Pritchard. Flicking through the pages of The Lonely Jacaranda, Manager of The Book Warehouse in Grafton Jess Wood is delighted by what she sees and reads. Written, illustrated and self-published by Grafton author Russell Irving, The Lonely Jacaranda tells the tale of a little jacaranda tree, the first one to arrive in Australia from South America as a seed.


Book review – Fires, Farms and Forests – A Human History of Surrey Hills, north-west Tasmania

The author has set himself an enormous task to survey in depth the history of the Surrey Hills district of north-west Tasmania. Fires, Farms and Forests represents the culmination of much detailed and careful research, combined with the author’s extensive personal experience as a forester, and, in particular, his role managing the native grasslands and buttongrass moorlands on Surrey Hills. All this enables the author to weave a story which encompasses both general history as well as specialist insights into the management of land and forests.

New releases

New release – Outback Teacher

A charming story of a young woman who faces challenges and finds joy teaching in outback schools. The year is 1956. Sally Gare is twenty. She's just out of teachers' college, and has been sent to work at a two-teacher school more than 3000 kilometres from Perth. With the head teacher away, she starts out alone with a class of forty-five Aboriginal children, ranging in age from five years to thirteen. Thus begins the career of a remarkable teacher and a life-changing adventure in remote Australia.

New release – Rising Dust

Detective Dave Burrows returns in another breathtaking tale of rural suspense. After the family's devastating tragedy, Detective Dave Burrows is crystal clear that his wife, Mel, is no longer interested in their marriage ... 'Fleur McDonald is a master of the rural suspense novel, her characters and storyline crackle with authenticity.' Family Circle

New release

New release – Sydney Royal, celebrating 200 Years of the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales

The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) has launched a new commemorative book, at a function held at Government House in Sydney, honouring the bicentenary of the organisation in July this year.