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Australian Biography

Elizabeth Macarthur: A Life at the Edge of the World

Elizabeth Macarthur: A Life at the Edge of the World

Michelle Scott Tucker

$32.99
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In 1788 a young gentlewoman raised in the vicarage of an English village married a handsome, haughty and penniless army officer. In any Austen novel that would be the end of the story, but for the real-life woman who became an Australian farming entrepreneur, it was just the beginning.

John Macarthur took credit for establishing the Australian wool industry and would feature on the two-dollar note, but it was practical Elizabeth who managed their holdings - while dealing with the results of John's manias- duels, quarrels, court cases, a military coup, long absences overseas, grandiose construction projects and, finally, his descent into certified insanity.

Michelle Scott Tucker shines a light on an often-overlooked aspect of Australia's history in this fascinating story of a remarkable woman.
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The Wasp and The Orchid: The remarkable life of Australian Naturalist Edith Coleman

The Wasp and The Orchid: The remarkable life of Australian Naturalist Edith Coleman

Danielle Clode

$39.99
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'Have you met Mrs Edith Coleman? If not you must - I am sure you will like her - she's just A1 and a splendid naturalist.' In 1922, a 48-year-old housewife from Blackburn delivered her first paper, on native Australian orchids, to the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria. Over the next thirty years, Edith Coleman would write over 300 articles on Australian nature for newspapers, magazines and scientific journals. She would solve the mystery of orchid pollination that had bewildered even Darwin, earn the acclaim of international scientists and, in 1949, become the first woman to be awarded the Australian Natural History Medallion. She was 'Australia's greatest orchid expert', 'foremost of our women naturalists', a woman who 'needed no introduction'.

And yet, today, Edith Coleman has faded into obscurity. How did this remarkable woman, with no training or connections, achieve so much so late in life? And why, over the intervening years, have her achievements and her writing been forgotten?

Zoologist and award-winning writer Danielle Clode sets out to uncover Edith's story, from her childhood in England to her unlikely success, sharing along the way Edith's lyrical and incisive writing and her uncompromising passion for Australian nature and landscape.
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A Certain Light: A Memoir of Family, Loss and Hope

A Certain Light: A Memoir of Family, Loss and Hope

Cynthia Banham

$32.99
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"Life is not defined by the bad things that happen to us. It certainly isn't for me."

Written for her young son so that he would know what had happened to his mother, Cynthia Banham's inspiring family memoir uncovers a true picture of what survival means.

"This book tells a story that I tried to write many times before, but couldn't. For a long time, it was too painful to tell. It is also one I hadn't known how to tell. It had to be more than a story about surviving a plane crash, a random event without intrinsic meaning."

Unable until now to write her own story, Cynthia found that the lives of her Italian grandfather, Alfredo, and his intriguing older sister, Amelia, resonated with her own. Discovering their sacrifice, joy, fear and love, from Trieste to Germany and America, and finally to Australia, their stories mirror and illuminate Cynthia's own determination and courage in the face of overwhelming adversity.

From a remarkable writer, and told with unflinching honesty and compassion, A Certain Light speaks to the heart of what really matters in life.
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Girls at the Piano

Girls at the Piano

Virginia Lloyd

$32.99
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A brilliant memoir about how learning the piano shaped the lives of two women worlds and generations apart that will resonate for music lovers everywhere and for anyone who has tried to master the piano.

Virginia Lloyd spent much of her childhood and adolescence learning and playing the piano and thought she would make a career as a pianist. When that didn't happen, she spent a long time wondering about those years of study: had they been wasted? What was their purpose? This intriguing memoir explores those questions and investigates the mystery of the author's very musical and deeply unhappy grandmother Alice, and how their lives--both at and away from the piano--intersected and diverged.

Girls at the Piano also explores the changing relationship between women and the piano over the course of the instrument's history, taking us from the salons of 18th-century Europe to an amateur jazz workshop in Manhattan in the early 21st century.

Funny, tender and fascinating, Girls at the Piano is an elegant and multi-layered meditation on identity, ambition and doubt, and on how learning the piano had a profound effect on two women worlds and generations apart. It is essential reading for music lovers everywhere, and for anyone who has undertaken their own voyage around a piano.
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Finding My Place: From Cairo to Canberra - the irresistible story of an irrepressible woman

Finding My Place: From Cairo to Canberra - the irresistible story of an irrepressible woman

Anne Aly

$32.99
In 2016, Anne Aly was the first Australian Muslim woman, the first Egyptian-born woman and the first counter-terrorism expert to be elected to Federal Parliament. She was also most probably the first parliamentarian to have seen Zoolander 23 times.

'What am I doing here?' she asked herself as she was sworn in with her hand on her father's copy of the Quran.

It's a question the former professor has raised more than once since she arrived in Australia aged two bearing the name Azza Mahmoud Fawzy El Housseini Ali Al Serougi. The answer is a fascinating and moving story of a Muslim girl growing up in suburban Australia in the seventies, when the Brady Bunch appeared to epitomise Western family life and girls like Anne danced the divide between the expectations and values of their parents' culture and that of their adopted land. Told with warmth, humour and insight, Anne's book is an irresistible story by an irrepressible Australian woman who has already made her mark internationally and in public life.
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Soul Survivor: How an Abandoned Child Went From Nothing to Everything

Soul Survivor: How an Abandoned Child Went From Nothing to Everything

Robert Ian Bonnick

$27.99
This inspirational book provides keys to unlock potential with self reflection, self empowerment, overcoming adversity & dream activation. It is impactful, funny yet poignant – Robert doesn’t take himself too seriously but he does take his message of hope and inspiration seriously. He discusses the keys/tools he used to achieve & overcome adversity by utilising humorous & moving stories from his past as way of illustration. This book will touch on his Jamaican Maroon history, his parents & how he came to end up in two orphanages from the ages of two to eighteen.

How he discovered his 5 keys that gave him a measurable, consistent and successful results every time. It will highlight Robert’s successes & achievements – how he applied these keys with colourful examples from his past to illustrate each of them. Robert. Robert writes how to ‘use’ the book & the tools to propel you to the next step on your journey of manifestation.

You will be entertained and have an, often humorous no holes barred insight into life, from growing up for eighteen years in the decaying often brutal social care system in London, to travelling the world, failing frequently but learning quickly how to be successful including friendships with some of the most renown celebrities on the planet and what we all have in common.
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Two Generations

Two Generations

Anne Connor

$29.99
Based on a true story, Two Generations explores the lived familial impact of secrets, suffering, forgiveness, hope and redemption.
 
Lae, New Guinea 1943. Jock Connor is part of a regiment sent to set up a base camp at the Butibum River. During an Inspection of Arms, Jock’s Owen sub-machine gun accidentally discharges, killing his twenty-two-year-old friend and fellow solider, Joseph Forrester.
 
It’s an event that will hold deep ramifications for years to come. On his return to civilian life Jock’s wife, Bess, is faced with a new version of her husband – a man emotionally wounded and spiritually broken, and a father who is short-tempered and withdrawn.
 
When Anne Connor delves into her father’s past two decades after his death, she learns about this tragic event for the first time, and begins to tease out the compelling story of her mother and father.
 
Weaving a tale of romance, hardship and resilience, Two Generations is an intimate and imaginative retelling of the lasting effect of secrets on a family, and the greater impact of the Second World War on northern Australia.
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Shadow Sisters

Shadow Sisters

Shelley Davidow

$29.95
During the terrifying years of Apartheid in South Africa, Shelley Davidow's family was a crime. At a time when it was illegal for black and white people to live together, Shelley's social activist parents took in Rosie, an abandoned black three-year-old. Rosie grew up as a beloved daughter and sister in a white household. Against the backdrop of racist laws and ever-present threats of violence, Shelley's parents did all they could to provide a safe, happy home for their five children. But when Rosie was sixteen, devastating truths came to light, shattering the family's understanding of the past.

In this haunting memoir, Shelley Davidow unravels the memories of her early life, searching for truth and reconciliation. Shadow Sisters leaves us with a deeper understanding of family love - but what if, sometimes, love is not enough?
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Bridge Burning and Other Hobbies

Bridge Burning and Other Hobbies

Kitty Flanagan

$29.99
Kitty Flanagan has been locked in an industrial freezer in Western Australia, insulted about the size of her lady parts in Singapore and borne witness to the world's most successful wife swap in suburban Sydney. It's these valuable lessons from The University of Life that have taught her so many things, including the fact that cliches like 'The University of Life' are reeeally annoying.

In these funny, true stories, Kitty provides advice you didn't even know you needed. Useful tips on how not to get murdered while hitch-hiking, how to break up with someone the wrong way, and the right way, why it's important to keep your top on while waitressing, and why women between the ages of thirty-seven and forty-two should be banned from internet dating.

Bridge Burning and Other Hobbies is a collection of laugh-out-loud, cautionary tales from one of Australia's favourite comedians.
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Bold Horizon: High-country Place, People and Story

Bold Horizon: High-country Place, People and Story

Higgins

$29.95
What is it really like in Australia's high country?

Matthew Higgins traces the mountain experience in a rich variety of ways. Firstly he talks of his own times in the alps as a bushwalker, cross-country skier, historian, and oral-history interviewer. Then, he profiles a range of people who have worked, lived, or played in the mountains: stockmen, skiers, Indigenous parks officers, rangers, brumby runners, foresters, authors, tourism operators, and others.

The central themes of place, people, and story are interwoven with concerns about environmental impact and climate change. An extensive collection of beautiful images helps to tell the magnificent mountain story, from Kosciuszko to Kiandra, Brindabella to Bimberi and Bogong, to Tidbinbilla and beyond.
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My family and other animus

My family and other animus

James Jeffrey

$32.99
For the young James Jeffrey, the day his parents split was like the splitting of the atom. Life took on a seismic instability filled with madness and strain and vendetta and daftness and acts of love, both beautiful and misguided. Yet, what could have been a calamitous upbringing turned instead into an education. For better or worse, his family handed out lessons that would guide him through life, into marriage, and eventually parenthood. My Family and Other Animus is an ode to his family.
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Do Oysters Get Bored?: A curious life

Do Oysters Get Bored?: A curious life

Rozanna Lilley (Macquarie University, Australia)

$29.99
A baby cries; a mother exits, leaving her family behind; a child finally begins to talk; a father stops breathing.

Rozanna Lilley is a social anthropologist, autism researcher, and Oscar's mum. Oscar is on the autism spectrum, which means he has a particular way of being in the world and understanding the lives of those around him.

As Rozanna and her husband Neil navigate Oscar's childhood, the author reflects upon her own childhood and adolescence, spent in a libertarian, self-consciously bohemian household first in Perth and then in Sydney, presided over by her parents, the writers Dorothy Hewett and Merv Lilley.

Through personal essays, Lilley works through the ongoing repercussions of childhood trauma and captures Oscar's rich inner world, as revealed through his vivid fantasy life and curious observations. Do Oysters Get Bored? is a shimmering examination of an eccentric family, the complexities of care, and the toll of grief in middle-age. A set of poems serve as a counterpoint to the essays in this directly charming and surprisingly funny account of daily life.
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The Essence of You and Me: An inspiring and heartwarming true story of resilience, hope and love

The Essence of You and Me: An inspiring and heartwarming true story of resilience, hope and love

Kada Miller ,  Barney Miller

$32.99
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The inspiring, heartwarming true story of Barney and Kada Miller. This couple prove that love and resilience can change everything.

As a 20-year-old, David 'Barney' Miller was one of the best surfers on the New South Wales mid-north coast. He was looking to go professional. But when a workmate lost control of their car, flipped it and slammed into a tree, Barney was trapped in the wreckage. He was told he would never breathe independently or use his legs again. Refusing to give in, he defied the doctors through self-belief, hard work and sheer guts. But he still wasn't able to walk. Barney plunged into a depression many thought he wouldn't emerge from. Then he met Kada, a beautiful girl from a country town who dreamed of becoming a singer. Kada had moved to the coast to escape her own troubled life.

When Barney met Kada they fell in love. She didn't see his wheelchair, she saw the man he was. Barney saw everything Kada was and everything she could be. With Barney's support, Kada has now released her first album, and she was there to cheer Barney on as he claimed a gold medal at the World Adaptive Surfing Championships. Together they believe anything is possible. Every day they prove that is true.

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Back of Beyond: One Woman's Remarkable Story of Love, Adventure, Disasters and Wonderful Times in the Gulf Country

Back of Beyond: One Woman's Remarkable Story of Love, Adventure, Disasters and Wonderful Times in the Gulf Country

Jenny Old

$32.99
This is the extraordinary story of an indomitable Australian woman going to the back of beyond and triumphing over adversity. It is a story about bush people and their generosity, filled with wonderful characters. Most of all, it is the story of a woman's love for her man and the adventure it took her on.

'After falling in love with my husband, Rick, I moved to a property called McAllister in the remote Gulf Country of far north Queensland, where I found myself living in a shed with a 44-gallon drum for my stove and a shower rose and a bucket in a tree for the bathroom!'

When 22-year-old Jenny Old followed her heart to the vastness of the Gulf of Carpentaria, she had no idea of the primitive conditions she'd find herself in. Often her only contact with the outside world was through her two-way radio. Stretched to the limits, she achieved more than she ever thought herself capable of. With every setback and in the toughest of times when the odds seemed insurmountable, she learnt to dust herself off, find a smile and just keep on going.

For eighteen years Jenny and Rick battled flood, drought, cyclones and personal hardship. Yet their world was a big as the landscape in which they lived, filled as it was with generosity, wonderful characters and the joy of life. At McAllister they established an oasis for their family and friends.

Jenny's motto is: life throws many curve balls at us, but it's how we deal with them that counts. This is the extraordinary story of a woman of the bush, her indomitable spirit.
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Monash: As Military Commander

Monash: As Military Commander

Peter Pedersen

$34.99
Dr Peter Pedersen's scholarly study of Sir John Monash remains the finest analysis of Australia's best known military leader.

In 1918 the Australian Corps under Monash's command played a leading role in the Allied advance to victory on the Western Front. Its successes in the battles of Hamel and Amiens, the taking of Mont St Quentin and Peronne and the breaching of the Hindenburg Line are among the most prominent landmarks in Australia's military history. Monash was central to these pivotal achievements.

This book traces Monash's development as a commander from his pre-war militia service to his wartime experience at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. It examines in detail how each stage of his military career influenced his approach to command and the tactical problems he faced as the wartime commander of an infantry brigade and division and, ultimately, the Australian Corps. The influence of his education and civilian training are also examined in this meticulous study. 

What emerges from this nuanced and sophisticated assessment of Monash as a soldier is a superb portrayal of how a commander works and what he could achieve under conditions so inimical to the exercise of command as those that prevailed on the Western Front. Along the way, Dr Pedersen establishes Monash's place among his contemporaries, British and Australian, and provides the definitive answer to the question 'Just how good was Monash?'

Published for the centenary of the great victories of 1918, this new and updated edition of Dr Pedersen's classic work is a timely study of Australia's finest general.
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Unmasked

Unmasked

Turia Pitt

$22.99
Whether via the numerous media reports, 60 Minutes specials, Women's Weekly cover stories or her first book, Everything To Live For, we know about the why, how and what of that fateful day in September 2011. We know how she died four times on the operating table and her tortuous road to recovery. We've had a glimpse of the love of her fiance, Michael, that sustained her, and seen hints of the inner-strength that has made her one of the most admired women in the country. But until now, the true essence of this most remarkable Australian, plus the toll her accident has all taken on her and those around her, have remained a mystery.

How and why does she push herself to ever greater physical and mental limits? What does she see when she looks in the mirror? How does her sudden celebrity (for the most unorthodox of reasons) sit with her? What lessons has she learned in the past five years? And how can each and every one of us take those lessons and apply them to our own lives?

Since the first edition of Unmasked, in which Turia describes a never-ending series of impressive physical feats, including climbing the Great Wall of China, walking the Kokoda Track and competing in not one but two Ironman competitions, she and Michael have had a little boy, Hakavai. In this second edition, in three new chapters Turia also narrates her pregnancy and the joy of having a child.

Unmasked reveals the woman behind the headlines, and in so doing, uncover the grace, humour and inner-steel that gets Turia Pitt through every day - and which leaves the rest of us watching on in amazement.
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She Said She Said: Love, Loss & Living. My New Normal

She Said She Said: Love, Loss & Living. My New Normal

Anne M Reid

$29.95
The ordinary and the extraordinary mix in this excruciatingly intimate, and at times triumphant and funny book which tells a profoundly moving story, custom built for our times. Anne M Reid had the perfect life with her perfect partner. She and Paul had been together for 12 years, married with three beautiful children, when one night, without warning, Paul admits to a life-long feeling of disconnection with his body, only recently understanding why: as a young child, he had wanted to be a girl. The book explores the anguish Anne feels as Paul begins transitioning to Paula, and all the confusion, bewilderment and social stigma surrounding a gender transition.

Paula not only crossed the gender divide, but now had different likes and dislikes, and a different take on the world. The husband Anne knew disappeared from the world. How does she cope? How does she manage what is now a same sex relationship? How do the children adapt to two mothers? At times this is an incredibly emotional book. Anne lets fly with feelings of anger, betrayal, sadness, despair and loneliness.

As Paula expressed disdain for any photographs or reminders of her earlier times as a male, Anne begins to wonder if her marriage had been some elaborate lie. Even happy times in the past are now tinged with sadness. Yet Anne also manages compassion and understanding. Despite all the fallout, Anne and Paula remain together. And there's humour, for example, when the kids are deciding what to call the new 'Paula'. This book is written from the unique perspective of a partner of a transitioning person. It's a matter-of-fact, day-to-day account of what really goes on in a transitioning household. And it's told by an author who is comfortable with describing her deepest emotions, fears and anxiety. You befriend the author at an intimate,emotional level. Paula has penned some chapters to explain her desperate need to transition, and the process that took place from her perspective.

For Anne, writing She Said, She Said was a cathartic exercise. It helped her keep sane in the face of massive change she never anticipated. The book includes a section on the phenomenon of gender dysphoria and transitioning which Anne researched to enhance her own understanding. She Said, She Said offers unique insights not only to those who find themselves wearing Anne's shoes, but to anyone curious about gender dysphoria and its impact on a family.
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Sophie's Boys

Sophie's Boys

Sophie Smith ,  Deborah FitzGerald

$32.99
When Sophie and Ash discovered they were expecting triplets, it was much more exciting than daunting.

But when Sophie went into labour at only 21 weeks, their world was turned upside down. Though they fought fiercely they could not escape tragedy. Tiny Henry lived for just one cherished hour, Evan for 10 days and Jasper was with them for only 58 days.

Heartbroken and back in her empty home, Sophie realised she could not allow herself to drown in her grief. On Ash’s advice, she began to run. Step by step she regained some equilibrium. She became determined to turn her agony into something positive. Gathering supporters around her, she founded the Running for Premature Babies Foundation to raise money for the hospital unit that had cared for her sons. In their first Sydney half marathon, the group raised $80,000.

Sophie and Ash had two more sons, Owen and Harvey, when tragedy revisited them. Ash was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. Sophie was forced once again into a world of pain and grief, caring for her beloved husband as well as their two young boys. Together, the family faced the reality of death with courage and tenderness.

When Ash passed away in 2016, Sophie once again put one foot in front of the other, and ran. Not running from her pain, but towards something useful. Her charity, the Running for Premature Babies Foundation, has now raised well in excess of $2.5 million to help the thousands of premature babies born each year.

Beautifully written and disarmingly honest, Sophie’s Boys is an inspiring and life-affirming tale of an irrepressible spirit, who found strength in tragedy.
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The Pastor and the Painter: Inside the lives of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran - from Aussie schoolboys to Bali 9 drug traffickers to Kerobokan's redeemed men

The Pastor and the Painter: Inside the lives of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran - from Aussie schoolboys to Bali 9 drug traffickers to Kerobokan's redeemed men

Cindy Wockner

$32.99
At 12.35 a.m. on the 29th April 2015, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were led out in front of firing squad. Strapped to wooden crosses, they prayed and sang, staring straight ahead at their killers. On that day, the Indonesian government did not execute two drug smugglers, they executed a pastor and a painter.

But who were Andrew and Myuran?

In 2005, the selfish recklessness of youth and lure of drugs, money, fast cars and a better life led them and seven other Australians into a smuggling plot to import eight kilograms of heroin from Indonesia to Australia. Unbeknownst to them all, the Australian Federal Police knew their plan and tipped off the Indonesian police. Charged with drug trafficking, Myuran and Andrew were found guilty and sentenced to death. Andrew was 22 years old. Myuran was 24.

Cindy Wockner was the Indonesian correspondent for News Limited when the Bali Nine were caught. For a decade she covered their story and she got to know Myuran, Andrew and their families very well. She watched them transform from angry, defiant young men into fully rehabilitated good people.

This is the intimate, and untold, story of Andrew and Myuran; of their childhoods and what turned them to drugs, what happened in their ten years in Kerokoban Prison, the numerous legal appeals, the political fallout and the growing worldwide pleas for mercy that saw vigils held around Australia. It will show their rehabilitation and their focus on helping others - of Andrew's growing commitment to his faith and Myu's burgeoning artistic talent. It will show the boys they were and the men they became in a potent cautionary tale and a poignant reminder of what we all lose when we ignore the power of mercy.
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