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Australian Biography

ANZAC and Aviator: The Remarkable Story of Sir Ross Smith and the 1919 England to Australia Air Race

ANZAC and Aviator: The Remarkable Story of Sir Ross Smith and the 1919 England to Australia Air Race

Michael Molkentin

$32.99
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'He was courageous. He was ambitious. He was skilled. He was visionary. He could be ruthless. He was someone born of a new nation. But he was of a time now long past. And yet in the language of a later generation it could be said he had the right stuff . . . Michael Molkentin captures [Ross Smith] brilliantly.' - Andy Thomas, NASA Astronaut (Retired) In the smouldering aftermath of the First World War a young Australian pilot and his crew prepare to attempt the inconceivable: a flight, halfway around the globe, from England to Australia. The 18,000 kilometre odyssey will take 28 days and test these men and their twin-engine biplane to the limit. It is a trans-continental feat that will change the world and bring the air age to Australia. It will also prove to be the culminating act in the extraordinary and tragically brief life of its commander, Captain Sir Ross Smith.

Raised on a remote sheep station in the dying days of Australia's colonial frontier, there was little in Ross Smith's childhood that suggested a future as one of the world's great pioneering aviators. He went to war in 1914, serving with the light horse at Gallipoli and in the Sinai before volunteering for the fledgling Australian Flying Corps. In a new dimension of warfare, Ross Smith survived two gruelling years of aerial combat over Palestine to emerge as one of the most skilled and highly decorated Australian pilots of the war. In 1919 he was a pilot on the first ever mission to survey an air route from Cairo to the East Indies, before gaining international fame as the winner of the government's GBP10,000 prize for leading the first aircrew to fly from England to Australia. His attempt to exceed this by circumnavigating the world by air in 1922 would end in disaster.

Drawing on the rich and extensive collection of Ross Smith's private papers, Anzac & Aviator tells, for the first time, the gripping story of a remarkable aviator, the extraordinary times in which he lived and the air race that changed the world.

'Standing with Lindbergh, Earhart and Kingsford Smith as one of the greatest pioneers of the air, Sir Ross Smith's life is brilliantly captured in this compelling biography.' - Richard Champion de Crespigny AM, bestselling author and captain of QF32


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Womerah Lane: Lives and Landscapes

Womerah Lane: Lives and Landscapes

Tom Carment

$39.95
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Carment is one of Australia's best-known plein air artists. It is his distinctive mark as a writer that he writes as he paints - from life - capturing the likeness of a particular place in time, remaining faithful to the moment when he sees something striking or strange. And just as his paintings and drawings are small, limited by what he can carry with him on his travels, so in his writing he is a miniaturist working on a large scale: the tone of his writing matches the style of his brushwork. Free-flowing, yet nuanced, it evokes the places he visits and the people and objects he encounters, friends and strangers, the homeless and the famous - farms, beaches, cottages, building sites, even typewriters and eggs and telegraph poles - each has its story.

This richly illustrated collection of Carment's essays about people and landscapes has been 30 years in the making. It covers the period he has lived in Womerah Lane in the inner-Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst, while travelling the country as a plein air artist. Womerah Lane is composed of written pieces set in every state of mainland Australia, accompanied by paintings and drawings made in those places.

"Tom Carment's writing, like his art, seduces quietly: austere, highly articulate, always fresh, with a dry sense of the absurd. In this calm, modest register, he commands great territories." - Helen Garner

"Tom Carment's Womerah Lane is a lively and pensive personal history, chronicling 30 years of life and art from one of Australia's most well-known landscape artists... Womerah Lane is a rich study of contrasts, likely to appeal to readers with an appetite for Australian biography, the arcane of the everyday and the many (sensory) pleasures of landscape artwork." - Nathan Smith, Books+Publishing
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Gulpilil

Gulpilil

Derek Rielly

$29.99
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'David is a gateway to a history that we've so far denied and not embraced. In this country, he's more important than Ned Kelly.' Jack Thompson It's been almost fifty years since a teenage David Gulpilil illuminated screens worldwide with his breakout role in Walkabout. It was one of the first times we'd seen an Aboriginal person cast in a significant role and only four years after Holt's referendum to alter the constitution and give Indigenous people citizenship and, subsequently, the right to vote.

Gulpilil quickly became the face of the Indigenous world to white Australian audiences. Charisma. Good looks. A competent, strong, mysterious man starring in films ranging from Crocodile Dundee to Rabbit-Proof Fence.

But what has marked Gulpilil, despite his fame and popularity, is the feeling that he's been forever stuck between two worlds: a Yolngu man, a hunter, a tracker, who grew up in the bush in Arnhem Land outside any white influence; and a movie star flitting from movie sets to festivals.

Able to exist in both worlds, but never truly home.

From the author of the bestselling Wednesdays with Bob, Derek Rielly builds a narrative around his attempt to encapsulate the most beguiling and unconventional of Australian entertainers, observing Gulpilil's own attempt to find a place in the world. With interviews from notable icons and friends - such as Jack Thompson, Paul Hogan, Phillip Noyce, Craig Ruddy, George Gittoes, Gary Sweet and Damon Gameau - this book unriddles a famous enigma at last.

'He has an extraordinary presence, what ever that word means. It's very real. Some people have it and some people don't. And David has it - he knows how to feed the camera.' Jack Thompson
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Penny Wong: Passion and Principle

Penny Wong: Passion and Principle

Margaret Simons

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A revelatory portrait of one of the most talented, poised and respected Australian politicians, written by one of Australia's foremost biographers Senator Penny Wong is an extraordinary Australian politician. Resolute, self-possessed and a penetrating thinker on subjects from climate change to foreign affairs, she is admired by members of parliament and the public from across the political divide.

In this first-ever biography of Penny Wong, acclaimed journalist Margaret Simons traces her story- from her early life in Malaysia, to her student activism in Adelaide, to her time in the turbulent Rudd and Gillard governments, to her key role as a voice of reason in the polarising campaign to legalise same-sex marriage. What emerges is a picture of a leader for modern Australia, a cool-headed and cautious yet charismatic figure of piercing intelligence, with a family history linking back to Australia's colonial settlers and to the Asia-Pacific.

Drawing on exclusive interviews with Penny Wong and her Labor colleagues, parliamentary opponents, and close friends and family, this is a scintillating insight into an Australian politician without precedence.
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Her Kind of Luck: Violin Prodigy, A Guinness-World Record Holder, A Suspected Spy, A Grandmother

Her Kind of Luck: Violin Prodigy, A Guinness-World Record Holder, A Suspected Spy, A Grandmother

Michelle Balogh

$29.99
In her mid-twenties, rudderless and unsure, Michelle moved into her step- great-grandmother Shan-Yi's Sydney apartment just after her passing. Shan-Yi had been part of Michelle's family since long before she was born and staying at the glamourous art deco apartment was meant to help Michelle back on her feet.

While there, Michelle found an extraordinary trove of letters, diaries and papers that told of her great-grandmother's unique life - one of adventure and heartache, trans-Atlantic travel and espionage. Born in China, Shan-Yi moved to America with her family aged four and ran away to Canton at sixteen with the help of a businessman and music connoisseur, Warsing Fuh. So began Shan-Yi's extraordinary globe-trotting twenties before she settled in Sydney with a German man - at the start of World War II - only he wasn't what he seemed.

Meticulously researched and told with great heart, this is the story of an unparalleled life and the inspiration it afforded her step-great-grandaughter - exactly when she needed it the most.
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On Air

On Air

Mike Carlton

$29.99
Mike Carlton was born to controversy. His father Jimmy, a renowned Olympic athlete and later a Catholic priest, married his mother after a whirlwind wartime courtship. This scandal was hushed up at first, but eventually it made headlines. Six years later, Jimmy Carlton died in his wife's arms, felled by asthma.

It was a tough beginning. Mike would have a Sydney suburban childhood where every penny counted. Unable to afford a university education, he left school at sixteen to begin a life in journalism that would propel him to the top, as one of Australia's best-known media figures. In an often turbulent career of more than fifty years he has been a war correspondent, political reporter, a TV news and current affairs reporter, an award-winning radio presenter in both Sydney and London, an outspoken newspaper columnist and a biting satirist. In later life he realised a lifelong ambition -- to write three bestselling books of Australian naval history.

On Air is his story, no holds barred. With characteristic humour and flair, Mike tells of the feuds and the friendships, the fun and the follies, writing candidly of the extraordinary parade of characters and events he has encountered in the unique life he has led.
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Unbowed: A Soldier's Extraordinary Journey Back from Paralysis

Unbowed: A Soldier's Extraordinary Journey Back from Paralysis

Billy Hedderman

$34.99
'I woke to the sight of a hospital ceiling. For that first blissful second, I forgot that I was paralysed.' On 31 December 2014 Billy Hedderman suffered a catastrophic injury to his spinal cord while body-boarding on the Sunshine Coast, paralysing him almost completely from the neck down. When asked if he would walk again, his doctor simply said, 'I dunno ... maybe.' Yet, incredibly, within just seven months of his injury, he was able to beat the odds and run a 10km race in under an hour. This is the powerful story of Billy's recovery and a fascinating account of his service as an Officer in the elite Special Forces unit, the Army Ranger Wing of the Irish Army. It was from this service that he took the never-say-die attitude that helped him prevail against all medical expectations to recover and serve as an Infantry Officer in the Australian Army. It is a story of almost unbelievable personal resilience and mental toughness, which will amaze and inspire.
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The Woman Who Cracked the Anxiety Code: The extraordinary life of Dr Claire Weekes

The Woman Who Cracked the Anxiety Code: The extraordinary life of Dr Claire Weekes

Judith Hoare

$39.99
The true story of the little-known mental-health pioneer who revolutionised how we see the defining problem of our era- anxiety.

Panic, depression, sorrow, guilt, disgrace, obsession, sleeplessness, low confidence, loneliness, agoraphobia ... Dr Claire Weekes knew how to treat them, but was dismissed as underqualified and overly populist by the psychiatric establishment. In a radical move, she had gone directly to the people. Her international bestseller Self Help for Your Nerves, first published in 1962 and still in print, helped tens of millions of people to overcome all of these, and continues to do so.

Weekes pioneered an anxiety treatment that is now at the cutting edge of modern psychotherapies. Her early explanation of fear, and its effect on the nervous system, is state of the art. Psychologists use her method, neuroscientists study the interaction between different fear circuits in the brain, and many psychiatrists are revisiting the mind-body connection that was the hallmark of her unique work. Face, accept, float, let time pass- hers was the invisible hand that rewrote the therapeutic manual.

This understanding of the biology of fear could not be more contemporary - 'acceptance' is the treatment du jour, and all mental-health professionals explain the phenomenon of fear in the same way she did so many years ago. However, most of them are unaware of the debt they have to a woman whose work has found such a huge public audience. This book is the first to tell that story, and to tell Weekes' own remarkable tale, of how a mistaken diagnosis of tuberculosis led to heart palpitations, beginning her fascinating journey to a practical treatment for anxiety that put power back in the hands of the individual.

'It's truly astonishing that Dr Claire Weekes is not a household name ... this book shines a light on her considerable achievements with great respect and meticulous detail.' -Leigh Sales 'By thinking outside the box, and exercising extraordinary clinical sensitivity, the brilliant physician Claire Weekes created a treatment protocol to the unending benefit of tens of millions of patients over the years.' -Dr David Barlow, professor emeritus of psychology and psychiatry at Boston University 'A vivid portrait of an intriguing woman ahead of her time, this is a story of hope, empowerment, and vindication.' -Gina Perry, author of Behind the Shock Machine and The Lost Boys.
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The Trauma Cleaner

The Trauma Cleaner

Sarah Krasnostein

$24.99
Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things- husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife . . .

But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.

A woman who sleeps among garbage she has not put out for forty years. A man who bled quietly to death in his loungeroom. A woman who lives with rats, random debris and terrified delusion. The still life of a home vacated by accidental overdose.

Sarah Krasnostein has watched the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bring order and care to these, the living and the dead - and the book she has written is equally extraordinary. Not just the compelling story of a fascinating life among lives of desperation, but an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.
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Other People's Houses

Other People's Houses

Hilary McPhee

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In Other People's Houses publishing legend Hilary McPhee exchanges one hemisphere for another. Fleeing the aftermath of a failed marriage, she embarks on a writing project in the Middle East, for a member of the Hashemite royal family, a man she greatly respects. Here she finds herself faced with different kinds of exile, new kinds of banishment.

From apartments in Cortona and Amman and an attic in London, McPhee watches other women managing magnificently alone as she flounders through the mire of Extreme Loneliness.

Other People's Houses is a brutally honest memoir, funny, sad, full of insights into worlds to which she was given privileged access, and of the friendships which sustained her.

And ultimately, of course, this is the story of returning home, of picking up the pieces, and facing the music as her house and her life takes on new shapes.
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Ian Fairweather: A Life in Letters

Ian Fairweather: A Life in Letters

Claire Roberts ,  John Thompson

$59.99
When he died in 1974 after a long period of self-imposed austerity and improvisation on Bribie Island, Queensland, Ian Fairweather was at the apex of his fame. He had been called 'our greatest painter', and his works were keenly sought by galleries, collectors and artists.

Born in 1891 in Scotland, Fairweather had lived a peripatetic life, forever seeking the right place to settle. He was a prodigious and idiosyncratic letter writer-wryly documenting for friends and family members his travels, his struggles with his painting and Chinese translations, and the changing conditions on Bribie, as well as commenting on literature and world affairs.

Seven hundred of the painter's letters are known to be in existence, and in their selection Claire Roberts and John Thompson have created the definitive volume of Fairweather's correspondence- the closest thing to an autobiography of one of Australia's most important and enduring artists.
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Rogue Intensities

Rogue Intensities

Angela Rockel

$26.99
Rogue Intensities is a memoir grounded in Tasmania, with a richness of storytelling which emerges from the space between human, nature and environmental threads. It manages to straddle the intimate and the universal with ease a great deal of delight. The exploration of the Australian landscape through prose is a core tenet of Australian literature and the UWAP has been successful in finding a shining example of this in Rogue intensities. This work successfully adds to this canon in a way that extends it and enriches writing alongside it.

'Rogue Intensities is an uncannily timely work, its aesthetic achievement is deeply embedded in urgent concerns of our current moment. It breaks down the artificial divisions between science, art, creative production and history to forge an original perspective and a model of connection between the creative processes of nature, knowledge and writing. Angela manages to create intimacy with the elements of the observable world and with experiences through a careful detachment, which is akin to scientific record. Rogue Intensities engages the reader with what Hayden White termed the great 'pleasure of information' about creatures, the atmosphere, the weather, landscape, seasons, as they are encountered in everyday life. There is a great joy in this text of discovery - as if writer and reader were encyclopaedists who have been granted permission to wonder at the world. I know of no other contemporary text that does this.' - Associate Professor Elizabeth McMahon, UNSW
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The Hilton Bombing: Evan Pederick and the Ananda Marga

The Hilton Bombing: Evan Pederick and the Ananda Marga

Imre Salusinszky

$34.99
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In 1978, Evan Pederick, a naive 22-year-old in the thrall of a radical religious movement, Ananda Marga, placed an enormous bomb outside Sydney's Hilton Hotel. It killed three people.

A decade later, Pederick confessed to this act of terrorism. But when one of his alleged accomplices was later acquitted, significant parts of Pederick's testimony were undermined and he was accused of being a 'fantasist'.

Conspiracy theories flooded in to fill the vacuum. Was it a plot by ASIO, rather than, as Pederick asserted, a plot to assassinate the Indian prime minister? In the absence of a Royal Commission or similar inquiry, mystery continues to shroud the deadliest terror attack on Australian soil.

Pederick, an Anglican priest, stands by his confession and testimony. Here is his story, told for the first time.

It is an extraordinary tale of guilt, remorse, renewal, and the search for forgiveness.


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Valerie Taylor: An Adventurous Life: The remarkable story of the trailblazing ocean conservationist, photographer and shark expert

Valerie Taylor: An Adventurous Life: The remarkable story of the trailblazing ocean conservationist, photographer and shark expert

Valerie Taylor ,  Ben Mckelvey

$34.99
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At 83 years old, Valerie Taylor has lived a big, bold adventurous life.

Born in Australia, Valerie spent a great deal of her childhood in New Zealand. A talented artist, she dropped out of school when she contracted polio and was saved by Sister Elizabeth Kenny's treatment plan; it was two years before she could walk unaided. When Valerie was fifteen, she found work as an animator and moved back to Australia with her family. All the while she thrived on being close to the ocean, and was a keen spear fisher.

In the 1950s, she met Ron Taylor and then her real adventures started. Together they sailed all over the world, photographing and filming their travels for magazines, TV and movies, and making many documentaries. Valerie and Ron became interested in conservation, and focused on sharks in particular. They did all the shark work on Jaws, and James Cameron decided he wanted to become a filmmaker because of Valerie and her husband.

Valerie is working with the brilliant Ben Mckelvey to share her story of falling in love with the ocean and with her husband, Ron. From trainee animator to Spielberg, from JAWS to BLUE LAGOON, this is the remarkable story of an incredible woman.
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