Latest Books

Corruption and Skullduggery: Edward Lord, Maria Riseley and Hobart’s tempestuous beginnings

Edward Lord, Maria Riseley and Hobart’s tempestuous beginnings

The fascinating story of the officer and the convict, Edward Lord and Maria Riseley, who made a fortune in early Hobart by their business and networking skills – only to throw it away in the 1820s by extravagance and financial incompetence (Edward) and sexual infidelity (Maria).

This is also the real story of early Hobart, not whitewashed as it usually is to show our glorious beginnings or because the gullible historian actually believes the official sources. Glossing over embarrassing scandals was the least of it. No one in Van Diemen’s Land wanted to be there: they were all either sent there (convicts, guards, officials) or, as...

The ambitions of Jane Franklin: Victorian lady adventurer

Victorian lady adventurer

What a woman! Intelligent, determined, burning to achieve in a period when women were meant to be wives and mothers at home. Jane Franklin wasn’t interested in anything women were meant to like: clothes, fashion, children, domesticity of any sort, other women, food, wine, embroidery, music, art, the lot. She was interested in reading, in politics and men, and gossip about them. Unable to achieve herself as a woman, she was determined to make her husband, explorer John Franklin, a success. She did so, against the odds though it was (he wanted to be a quiet country squire).

At her urging he accepted the post of governor of Van Diemen...