Latest Books

Jude and ALison Alexander, Death at a Festival: an Australian hippie murder

An Australian hippie murder

HipHaven is a hippie music festival in outback New South Wales, complete with fire twirling, drumming, singing, a cuddle puddle, a mud bath – and plenty of nudity. What happens when a devotee daughter drags her conventional mother there? Will her mother fling off the trappings of modern society and jump in the mud bath? Or will the daughter be leading her into an oddball version of hell?

Written alternately by mother and daughter, this book is not just a penetrating but hilarious description of the festival, a moving picture of a mother-daughter relationship – and a murder.

‘In brilliant and jewelled writing, this revelatory...

A salute to Max Angus

Tasmanian artist

A biography of Max Angus, much-loved Tasmanian icon, painter and environmentalist.

Born in Tasmania of convict stock, Max Angus had to leave school at fourteen to earn a living. He became a commercial artist, then during the Second World War served in the intelligence department of the Australian Army. Ivor Hele, a well-0known painter working as a war artist, inspired him with a desire to become a professional painter and he made a career in Tasmania. he excelled at watercolour landscapes of Tasmanian bush, mountains and seascapes.

The desire to save this turned Max into an ardent environmentalist, beginning with the...

Tasmania v. British Empire

The battle to end convict transportation

A David and Goliath story. Colonists who wanted no more British convicts were up against the might of the British Empire, which was supremely indifferent to the wishes of a group of despised colonists at the far end of the world.

Governor Denison used whatever means he could to sience them: threats, intimidation, lies, force, mob violence. Besides, they knew that the question was decided in London, not Hobart. The only tools the colonists had were mass support, persistence and – their winner – the ability to influence British voters by uniting all colonies behind Tasmania and publiciing the justice of their cause. This was the...

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...

Patricia Giles, painter - The waking dream of art

The waking dream of art

Born in Hobart in 1932, always loving drawing and painting, Patricia had a term at Art School aged seventeen, but had to leave to earn a living as a seceretary. She attended night classes, and in 1961 was able to give up boring secretarial work and open Hobart’s first commercial art gallery.

This opened the world of art and artists to her – especially when Max Angus, already a well-known painter, asked her to join his Sunday painting group. They painted and exhibited together for the next sixty years, becoming famous as Tasmania’s foremost watercolour landscape painters.

Patricia particularly loved painting untouched, wild...