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Australian Biography

Only: A Singular Memoir

Only: A Singular Memoir

Caroline Baum

$32.99
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Three barely felt like a family. It felt like it did not count. Like we were unfinished. Incomplete. There was always a gap at the table, room to set places for others. Visitors were few and far between. Mostly, there was only me.

Only is a painfully honest and entertaining story of an unconventional childhood. It reveals what it feels like to be an only child and the focal point of two people damaged by trauma and tragedy, and the courage it takes to break free from the past and the pull of its secrets...

Caroline Baum's poignant and gripping memoir is for anyone who has felt the pressure of being at the fulcrum of a seesaw, the focus of all eyes and expectations - torn between love and fear, obedience and rebellion, duty and the longing to escape. In exploring what being a Good Daughter means and why it can be so difficult, Only uncovers truths that offer readers deep emotional insight...
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The Poison Principle: A Memoir About Family Secrets and Literary Poisonings

The Poison Principle: A Memoir About Family Secrets and Literary Poisonings

Gail Bell

$24.99
When Dr William Macbeth poisoned two of his sons in1927, his wife and sister hid the murders in the intensely private realm of family secrets. Macbeth behaved as if he were immune to consequences and avoided detection and punishment. Or did he? Secrets can be as corrosive as poison, and as time passed, the story of Macbeth haunted and divided his descendants. His grand-daughter, Gail Bell, spent ten years reading the literature of poisoning in order to understand Macbeth's life. Herself a chemist, she listened for echoes in the great cases of the nineteenth century, in myths, fiction, and poison lore. Intricate, elegant, and beautifully realised, The Poison Principle is a book about family secrets and literary poisonings.
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Looking for Rose Paterson: How Family Bush Life Nurtured Banjo the Poet

Looking for Rose Paterson: How Family Bush Life Nurtured Banjo the Poet

Jennifer Gall

$44.99
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Rose was the mother of famous Australian poet Banjo Paterson (known as Barty as a boy) and, yet, very little has been written about her.

As wife of pastoral station manager Andrew Bogle Paterson, Rose's married life was lived under straitened financial circumstances, something that a woman of her class would not have expected.

At Illalong station, near Yass, in New South Wales, Rose was isolated-geographically and socially. Andrew was frequently away, leaving Rose to manage on her own in their dilapidated slab house, often with no domestic help and often in harsh weather conditions. Her existence was punctuated by multiple pregnancies and childbirth, organising her seven children and their education and labouring over the never-ending chores.

Looking for Rose Paterson places Rose within the broader context of Australian life in the 1870s and the 1880s, enabling us to develop an appreciation of her struggles and joys all the more. Rose was a prolific letter writer and through the letters that have survived-a series to her sister Nora between 1873 and 1888-life in nineteenth-century rural Australia comes alive.

We get to know Rose and come to understand the environment that shaped her son, Banjo, and influenced his development as a balladeer.
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The Green Bell

The Green Bell

Paula Keogh

$29.99
It’s 1972 in Canberra. Michael Dransfield is being treated for a drug addiction; Paula Keogh is delusional and grief-stricken. They meet in a psychiatric unit of the Canberra Hospital and instantly fall in love.

Paula recovers a self that she thought was lost; Michael, a radical poet, is caught up in a rush of creative energy and writes poems that become The Second Month of Spring. Together, they plan for ‘a wedding, marriage, kids – the whole trip’. But outside the hospital walls, madness, grief and drugs challenge their luminous dream. Can their love survive?

The Green Bell is a lyrical and profoundly moving story about love and madness. It explores the ways that extreme experience can change us: expose our terrors and open us to ecstasy for the sake of a truer life, a reconciliation with who we are. Ultimately, the memoir reveals itself to be a hymn to life. A requiem for lost friends. A coming of age story that takes a lifetime.
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A Web of Friendship: Selected Letters (1928-1973)

A Web of Friendship: Selected Letters (1928-1973)

Christina Stead

$24.99
This collection of Christina Stead's letters spans the life of one of Australia's most illustrious writers, offering a rare insight into the relationships that influenced and sustained her work. They reveal her reflections on the art of literature, the development of her political thought, and the significance of a handful of friendships that would endure throughout her life and career. These letters cover Stead's arrival in England in 1928, as well as her time abroad in Europe and the United States. They also detail her marriage to William Blake, their life in England where they settled in 1953, as well as her brief return to Australia and her final years in England following Blake's death. A Web of Friendship includes Stead's intimate correspondence with influential literary figures such as Stanley Burnshaw, Ettore Rella, Nettie Palmer, Clem Christesen, Elizabeth Harrower and A.D. Hope, and includes an introduction by Hilary McPhee.
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And Then I Found Me

And Then I Found Me

Noel Tovey

$33.00
Noel Tovey's previous memoir, Little Black Bastard (shortlisted for Victorian Premier's Prize for Indigenous Writing, Australian Human Rights Award) chronicled his extraordinary life - from a childhood lived in poverty, through to his international stage career, return to Australia and eventual reconciliation with his past. In this uplifting new work, Tovey crafts a tale that reveals a creative and sensitive spirit. And Then I Found Me is the triumphant story of his stellar career in London as an actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, director and curator. For more than 30 years, his stage productions reached audiences across Europe, South Africa and Australia. Martin Luther King's assassination, the dismantling of apartheid, the criminalisation of homosexuality and the rise of AIDS create a backdrop to this bold recollection of glamour and politics. As a trailblazer for Indigenous people and an advocate for underpriviledged artists, Tovey's new memoir is both moving and timely.
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Bill Gibson: Pioneering Bionic Ear Surgeon

Bill Gibson: Pioneering Bionic Ear Surgeon

Tina K. Allen

$34.99
'Professor Bill Gibson is an outstanding man, a great humanitarian and deserving of this well-researched biography about his exceptional contribution to medicine.' - Professor Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO During his distinguished career as an ear, nose and throat surgeon, Emeritus Professor Bill Gibson AO gained a reputation as a world-expert in Meniere's disease and cochlear implant surgery. In 1984, he restored the hearing of two young women who were some of the first to receive the commercialised bionic ear, pioneered by Professor Graeme Clark and his team in Melbourne in 1978. Three years later Gibson operated on four-year-old Holly McDonell, the youngest child in the world to receive the bionic ear. Over the following decades, he performed more than 2000 cochlear implant operations, making him one of the most prolific surgeons in his field. This fascinating biography tells the story of how Bill Gibson transformed the lives of thousands with the bionic ear. View TV interview with Bill Gibson here
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Momo Freaks Out

Momo Freaks Out

Samone Bos

$29.99
A long time ago, way before Facebook and Instagram, and when no one had even considered Snapchat, there were blogs. One day, bored at work, Momo, a typical twenty-something, discovered this curious new underworld of secret diaries. Soon she's living her life online, baring her soul and relationships, equal parts funny and pitiful. With blogged stories and anecdotes spanning a freakishly well-remembered childhood and her then-present, Momo's blog life opens doors, eventually taking her from being a young book editor in Melbourne to an English teacher in Tokyo navigating earthquakes from under a table. Momo Freaks Out represents a time, a subculture and a whole lot of silly hijinks in a decade that seems both very recent and distant.
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A Long Way Home

A Long Way Home

Saroo Brierley

$22.99
A true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds, now a major motion picture starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara. When Saroo Brierley used Google Earth to find his long-lost home town half a world away, he made global headlines. Saroo had become lost on a train in India at the age of five. Not knowing the name of his family or where he was from, he survived for weeks on the streets of Kolkata, before being taken into an orphanage and adopted by a couple in Australia. Despite being happy in his new family, Saroo always wondered about his origins. He spent hours staring at the map of India on his bedroom wall. When he was a young man the advent of Google Earth led him to pore over satellite images of the country for landmarks he recognised. And one day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for. Then he set off on a journey to find his mother. Lion- A Long Way Home is a moving and inspirational true story that celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit - hope.
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Scoundrel Days: A Memoir

Scoundrel Days: A Memoir

Brentley Frazer

$29.95
In Scoundrel Days Brentley Frazer tells the story of his youth - wild, disillusioned, impassioned and desolate.

Born into a Christian cult in outback Queensland, Frazer escapes through literature and poetry, drugs and violence, sex and alcohol; and his ensuing rejection of religion, authority and the 'way things are' leads to adventures, desperation and, just possibly, redemption.

Beautifully written and urgently told, Scoundrel Days is a visceral, compelling assault on the senses. An at times brutal story articulated with a poet's sensibility, it portrays a walker of edges exploring the dark side while searching for the love essential to build a soul.
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Helen Haenke at Rockton: A Creative Life

Helen Haenke at Rockton: A Creative Life

Helen Haenke

$40.00
Rockton, one of Ipswich's historic homes and listed with the National Trust, was also home for many years to one of south-east Queensland's most prolific writers and poets. A true artist, Helen Haenke devoted much of her life to the vibrant cultural creative scene of the 1960s and 1970s - opening her home to contemporaries such as Rodney Hall, Thomas Shapcott, Bruce Dawe and Oodgeroo Noonuccal. A one-time student of highly controversial artist Max Meldrum, Haenke also trained as a graphic artist and continued to paint throughout her life. Helen Haenke at Rockton is a visual celebration of the life of this respected artist and author, offering a selection of her finest artworks, poems, fiction and letters, and documenting her valuable contribution to Queensland cultural history.
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A Sunburnt Childhood: Growing Up in the Territory

A Sunburnt Childhood: Growing Up in the Territory

Toni Tapp Coutts

$19.99
Toni Tapp grew up on the massive Killarney Station, where her stepfather, Bill Tapp, was a cattle king. But there was no 'big house' here - Toni did not grow up in a large homestead. She lived in a shack that had no electricity and no running water. The oppressive climate of the Territory - either wet or dry - tested everyone. Fish were known to rain from the sky and sometimes good men drank too much and drowned trying to cross swollen rivers. Toni grew up with the Aboriginal people who lived and worked on the station, and got into scrapes with her ever-increasing number of siblings. She loved where she grew up - she was happy on the land with her friends and family, observing the many characters who made up the community on Killarney. When she was sent to boarding school all she wanted to do was go back to the land she loved, despite the fact that her parents' marriage was struggling as Bill Tapp succumbed to drink and June Tapp refused to go under with him. Toni's love of the natural world and of people alike has resulted in a tender portrait of a life that many people would consider tough. She brings vividly to the page a story seldom seen: a Territory childhood, with all its colour, characters and contradictions.
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Call of the Outback: The Remarkable Story of Ernestine Hill, Nomad, Adventurer and Trailblazer

Call of the Outback: The Remarkable Story of Ernestine Hill, Nomad, Adventurer and Trailblazer

Marianne Van Velzen

$22.99
Long before Robyn Davidson wrote Tracks, the extraordinary Ernestine Hill was renowned for her intrepid travels across Australia's outback. After the birth of her illegitimate son, Ernestine Hill abandoned her comfortable urban life as a journalist for a nomadic one, writing about this country's vast interior and bringing the outback into the popular imagination of Australians. Throughout the 1930s Ernestine's hugely popular stories about Australia's remotest regions appeared in newspapers and journals around the nation. She still remains famous for her bestselling books The Great Australian Loneliness, The Territory, Flying Doctor Calling and My Love Must Wait. Call of the Outback provides a vivid portrait of Ernestine, from the early brilliance she showed as a child in Brisbane to her later life. In particular it evokes Ernestine's larger-than-life personality, the exotic landscapes she explored and the remarkable characters she met on her travels.
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