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In Love with Betty the Crow

Reading Rewards - reviews -

In Love with Betty the Crow by Robyn Williams

The Science Show with Robyn Williams on Radio National is one of the longest running programs on Australian radio. Scientific issues, debates, events, personalities, exposing scientific fraud, discoveries and broadcasting pranks have been its hallmarks, and the show has given Australians fascinating insights into all manner of things. 

In this lively account of forty years of The Science Show, Robyn reveals in his inimitable style why science is important - touching on topics like the flakes and the heroes, propaganda, cosmic revolutions, our relationship with animals, women in science, and of course, the environment. 

Informative, entertaining and memorable, this is a book that is a must read for anyone who is interested in ideas and the truth. 

Robyn Williams, the long time presenter of The Science Show, knows how to speak and write Science!  In this comprehensive review of the 40 years of the show he explains all of the important stories from the past and the scientists involved. He rejoices, celebrates and has a deep respect for, in particular, female scientists.  

I listened to the audio book, read by the author complete with audio of some of the scientists speaking. I would highly recommend the audio for anyone who might be put off by the quantity and breadth of the print copy as I found it made the subject matter quite accessible. 

~ Ali

All Is Not Forgotten

Reading Rewards - reviews -

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

You can erase the memory. But you cannot erase the crime.

Jenny's wounds have healed. An experimental treatment has removed the memory of an horrific and degrading attack. She is moving on with her life. That was the plan. Except it's not working out. Something has gone. The light in her eyes. And something was left behind. A scar. On her lower back. Which she can't stop touching. And she's getting worse. Not to mention that her father is obsessed with finding her attacker and her mother is in toxic denial. 

It may be that the only way to uncover what's wrong is to help Jenny recover her memory. But even if it can be done, pulling at the threads of her suppressed experience will unravel much more than the truth about her attack. And that could destroy as much as it heals...


Why we love it: 
All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker is a deeply chilling and utterly absorbing psychological thriller, an absolute must-read for fans of the genre.

~ from The Team at Better Reading.

The Three Miss Allens

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Three Miss Allens by Victoria Purman

How much of who we are is destiny and how much chance? In 1934, the three Miss Allens - Ruby, Adeline and Clara - arrive in the seaside town of Remarkable Bay for their annual summer holiday. It's the last time they'll spend summers as a family. Adeline is engaged, Ruby is weighing up an offer, and Clara is just eighteen and about to start her life. But by summer's end, the lives they have known will change irrevocably and a mysterious secret will tear the family apart. 

Eighty-two years later, Ruby's great-granddaughter Roma Harris moves to the now sleepy Remarkable Bay, retreating from tragedy. Roma's distant cousin Addy arrives too, fleeing a life with too much drama. It's only when the women discover an old guest book that they start asking questions about the mysterious third Miss Allen. Who was she? Why has she disappeared from the family's history? If they solve this mystery from their past, could it change the women's futures?

Another great women's fiction book by a talented Australian author. This story had me turning the pages constantly. It is set in a fictitious seaside town in South Australia called Remarkable Bay and is in two different time periods. Back in the day 'Bayview' was a guest house where well-to-do families holidayed. The Allen family was one of them. The three sisters are all very different, but it will be the last time they are all together. 

Fast-forward to 2016:  Roma, who is the great-granddaughter of one of the Allen sisters, moves to Remarkable Bay and purchases 'Bayview' not knowing the history behind it. She needs something to work on to help recover from the recent tragic death of her husband. Her distant cousin Addy comes for a visit and decides to stay to help renovate the house, as she herself is running from an abusive relationship. After they discover the hidden guest book, Roma is on a mission to find out what happened to their great grandmother's other sister whom they didn't know existed.

The story bounces back and forth between the two time periods and also introduces secondary characters both plots who were very believable and feel like someone you would know yourself. I liked the way that the author left a couple of things to your imagination, and did drop some subtle clues throughout the book. This added to the enjoyment of it.

~ Janine


Hidden Killers

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Hidden Killers by Lynda La Plante


Jane Tennison, a young, inexperienced WPC, learns the hard way never to take anyone, or anything, at face value, whether in her dealings with her police colleagues or when confronted by seemingly innocent suspects. 

Hidden Killers sees Jane acting as a 'decoy' prostitute, with the hope of capturing a suspect wanted for numerous sexual assaults. The attacker is drawn in and put under arrest. Commended for bravery in the case, Jane is given CID status and moves from Hackney to Bow Street Station as Detective. Her first call-out is to a non-suspicious death. The victim is a young mother, drowned tragically in her bath, leaving a bereft and doting husband and a young child. 

The two storylines interweave as Jane begins to doubt the evidence against her assailant in East London, and becomes certain that the young woman in the bath did not drown in tragic circumstances. Two entirely different cases but one common thread - the lingering doubt in Jane's mind around the evidence, and around her colleagues...


Why we love it:
She’s back again in book two in a series, the unforgettable female detective Jane Tennison, immortalised by actress Helen Mirren in the hit television show Prime Suspect.

Last year Tennison creator Lynda La Plante took us back to the 1970s, pre-Prime Suspect Days, with Tennison as a rookie cop in the novel Tennison. La Plante’s latest Hidden Killers takes us to 70s London again and wow, what a great job she does of transporting us back in time. And we can see how Jane Tennison became the woman we got to know in Prime Suspect – intelligent, observant, tenacious, and courageous.

~ from The Team at Better Reading

Flood - July 29 1987

Links to our Past - history -

These photographs were taken by the City of Berwick on July 29 1987

Beaconsfield Park showing the flooded Cardinia Creek. The Beaconsfield Park sign was erected in 1939 and refurbished and reinstalled in 2011 (it was then stolen and a new sign was made. I believe the old sign has just been found and that specific people living locally are 'helping police with their enquiries' )

Beaconsfield Upper Road

Beaconsfield - end of Adamson Street, looking west over Cardinia Creek and the Edrington property

Beaconsfield - Soldiers Road, north up the Cardinia Creek.

Hallam - Eumemmerring Creek looking east from end of George Avenue. 

Hallam - Eumemmerring Creek looking west from end of George Avenue.

Hallam - Gunns Road looking north to James Cook Drive and Hallam North Road. The photos were labelled in red texta, which was good as we know what they are, but the downside is that the texta has marked other photos. 

Hallam Road North looking west.

Hallam Road North looking south west.

Hallam Road North looking south to Belgrave-Hallam Road

Hallam Road North, Eumemmerring Creek looking east.

Hallam Road South, east side, looking south to the Railway line. Hallam Station is on the far right

Hallam Road South, east side, looking south to the railway line. This adjoins the photo above,

Ovals near Fountain Gate Shopping Centre and the retarding basin.

Resurrection Bay

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic

Caleb Zelic is a profoundly deaf private investigator working in Melbourne. His partner is the ageing, recovering alcoholic Frankie, tough and caustic but with a somewhat maternal attitude to Caleb when she lets her guard down (not often). When Caleb discovers the gruesome murder of his childhood friend Gary, he embarks on a wild chase from the back streets of Melbourne to his and Gary’s hometown on the coast, Resurrection Bay.

Caleb is determined to find out who killed good guy and cop Gary, but the perpetrators think Caleb knows too much so it’s a case of whether he can get to them before they get to him. 

Viskic builds up the action and takes us on a thrilling ride through Melbourne, leading us to a nail-biting and tense conclusion. Her skilful characterisation of Caleb and other key players increases the stakes. Caleb is an original and truly likeable crime hero who tries to hide his deafness from the world and this frustrates the hell out of those closest to him, particularly Kat, with whom he is still in love.

It is not surprising that Resurrection Bay pulled in so many of Australia’s key crime awards this year, including winner of the 2016 Ned Kelly Award for Best First fiction and winner of the 2016 Davitt Award for Best Debut Novel, Best Adult Novel and the Readers’ Choice Award. It also won iBooks Australia’s Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2015.

~ Deb

Clara & Mr Tiffany

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Clara & Mr Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

In 1893, Louis Comfort Tiffany makes his debut at the Chicago World Fair with his luminous and innovative stained glass windows. Behind the scenes in his NY studio, is the freethinking head of his women’s division, Clara Driscoll, who designs nearly all of the iconic lead glass Tiffany lamps. While Clara struggles with her desire for artistic recognition and the challenges of a professional woman, she also yearns for love and companionship, exploring several friendships amongst her artistic community. Eventually she must decide between her work, with a strict no married women policy and her heart.

Vreeland delves behind the artistic world to deliver a fascinating insight into the lives behind the artworks – highly recommended for lovers of historical storytelling at its best!  My only regret was while the descriptions of the inspirations, design and fabrication detail are great, including some illustrations of the finished works that were created throughout the story would have been a bonus!

~ Pru


Under the Harrow

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry

From the back cover:  When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder. 

Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can’t return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can’t trust them to find her sister’s killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is distressed and in danger. As her fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognisable as the sister her investigation uncovers.

A riveting psychological thriller, ‘Under the Harrow’ explores the fierce love between two sisters and the terrifying power of the past. This was an easy-to-read tale of intrigue. Nora finds her sister, Rachel, brutally murdered in her home. Years earlier, Rachel had been assaulted, and the assailant, never caught. Nora and Rachel had spent years since, trying to find Rachel’s attacker, unhappy with the lack of police support. Nora wonders whether the attacker had now returned. Once again, she lacks confidence in police enforcement which leads to a dangerous situation of her doing her own investigation into her sister’s murder. As the story unfolds, secrets are revealed and characters unravel. The reader will be wondering just who to believe until the very end.  

~Narelle

Macavity Award

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Mystery Readers International is the largest mystery fan/reader organisation in the world and open to all readers, fans, critics, editors, publishers, and writers. Started by Janet A. Rudolph in Berkeley, California, it now has members in all 50 of the United States and 18 foreign countries. Members vote each year to nominate and select the winners of the Macavity Award from titles published the previous year. The Macavity Award is named for the “mystery cat” of T.S. Eliot's Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. 


Best Mystery
The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

Best First Mystery
Past Crimes by Glen Erik Hamilton

Best Critical/Biographical
The Golden Age of Murder: the mystery of the writers who invented the modern detective story by Martin Edwards

~ Deb

The Birdman's Wife

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Birdman's Wife by Melissa Ashley

Artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds the world had never seen before. But her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould. This book at last gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was so much more than the woman behind the man. 

Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, juggling the demands of her artistic life with her roles as wife, lover, helpmate, and mother to an ever-growing brood of children. In a golden age of discovery, her artistry breathed wondrous life into countless exotic new species, including Charles Darwin's Galapagos finches. In this book, a naive young girl who falls in love with an ambitious genius comes into her own as a woman, an artist and a bold adventurer who defies convention by embarking on a trailblazing expedition to the colonies to discover Australia's curious birdlife. This is an indelible portrait of an extraordinary woman overlooked by history until now.

This fictional story was inspired by letters from Elizabeth found tucked inside her famous husband's research.  It takes the form of an intimate memoir of a woman whose talent and adventurous spirit led her from the glittering salons of London to the wilds of Van Diemans land and New South Wales.

It’s the story of a significant but little-known historical figure, a woman previously overshadowed by her better-known husband, John Gould, who was often known as Australia’s first ornithologist or the ‘Bird Man’.  The novel shows how this talented woman became much more than an appendage to her husband. She was an accomplished artist in her own right and her ambitious husband needed her at his side. With naturalists and explorers discovering new species of animal life in the new world, John Gould needed to venture from London and after meeting Charles Darwin, decided to launch his own expedition...

Why we love it: The Birdman’s Wife is as gorgeously rendered as some of the stunning lithographs by artist Elizabeth Gould.

~ from The Team at Better Reading

American Heiress

Reading Rewards - reviews -

American Heiress: the wild saga of the kidnapping, crimes and trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin


On February 4, 1974, 19 year old Patty Hearst, a student living in Berkely, California and granddaughter of American publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped by a group calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army. 

The already sensational story took the first of many incredible twists on April 3, when the group released a tape of Patty saying she had joined the SLA and had adopted the nom de guerre “Tania.” Patty, one of the first and most famous examples of the “Stockholm syndrome” thereafter participated in the SLA’s robberies, bombings and lawlessness and was on the run from the authorities for 19 months, before being tried and found guilty of bank robbery. She later had her sentence commuted by President Jimmy Carter, and was pardoned by President Bill Clinton. 

These are the bare facts of the story, but do not convey it’s bizarre nature and ambiguity. The SLA was in fact a ragtag bunch of self-styled revolutionaries, totally disorganised and inept. The only thing they did have was a huge arsenal of guns, which they had no compunction in using. Was Patty won over to their cause, or did she only join in their illegal activities after being kept in a closet for weeks and threatened with death? This is the mystery which is still unanswered at the end of this engrossing tale.

~ Teresa

Six Under Eight

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Six Under Eight by Madeleine West


The mother of all parenting diaries!

You've read parenting stories before but most parents are only managing a small brood; with six children, all under eight years old, actor Madeleine West (Neighbours, Satisfaction, Underbelly) can justifiably lay claim to having seen it all. 

In this hilarious and moving book, Madeleine takes us through a year of her life as a mother and shows us that it is possible to have a large family and keep your sanity, wisdom and sense of humour intact.

Madeleine West is a well known Australian actress whose partner is restauranteur and chef extrordinaire, Shannon Bennett. This memoir chronicles a year in her hectic life, with four kids, then finding she is pregnant with twins! 

It is a very honest, warts and all depiction of life as a mum trying to juggle lunch boxes, school runs, nappies and vomiting babies. She does have a part-time nanny (who wouldn't if you could afford it!) but generally does a lot on her own. 

As well as descriptions of their daily routines, which are chaotic to say the least, she is also trying to get back into acting in a part-time way if the opportunity comes up, one day having to get her eldest daughter (9) to hold the i-Phone and film Mum reading lines while kids run in and out of the picture and the twins start screaming in the background! Needless to say, she didn't get that role!

I found this to be quite a laugh out loud book at times, one that all Mums out there will be able to relate to. I take my hat off to her, as The Chef (her nickname for Shannon Bennett) seems to be generally absent around 200 out of 365 days per year, and when he is home is busy in his study checking emails. She does offer some parenting advice which is interspersed throughout the book based on her experience.  A most enjoyable read!

~ Janine

Celebrating the Armistice at Emerald in 1918

Casey-Cardinia 1914-1918: the Great War -

In this third post looking at how people in this region celebrated the end of the Great War in 1918, we will see how the townsfolk of Emerald marked the occasion. The following article is from the Camberwell and Hawthorn Advertiser of November 22, 1918. The article is on Trove and you can read it here and I have transcribed it, below.  To see how Nar Nar Goon, celebrated the Armistice, click here. To see how the Cranbourne Shire celebrated the Armistice, click here.


Camberwell and Hawthorn Advertiser  November 22, 1918http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article153117290

CELEBRATIONS AT EMERALDAt Emerald on Wednesday evening, November 13, a large number of the residents assembled in the local hall to celebrate the recent signing of the armistice. The gathering was most enthusiastic, and a programme of speeches and patriotic songs was gone through. The meeting opened with the doxology and the National Anthem. Messrs. Fairley and Dombrain spoke to the motion: -  'That this assemblage of Emerald citizens and loyal subjects of the British empire give heartfelt thanks to Almighty God for our deliverance from the enemy, and do express our great joy and delight at the success of the Allies and celebration of peace.' This was carried with acclamation.
Cr. Butcher moved, and Mr. Wilson seconded the following motion: -  'That we proclaim our loyalty to the King.' Further resolutions were also carried as follow: -  On the motion of Cr. Nobelius and Mr. McGibbon - 'That we extend our heartiest congratulations to the army and navy' ; on the motion of Messrs. Simpson and Hall - 'That we express our deepest sympathy with those who have lost relatives in this Great War' ; on the motion of Messrs McGibbon and Pascoe - 'That the best thanks of the meeting be tendered to the ladies of the Emerald Red Cross.'
In speaking to a motion of thanks to he chairman (Cr. Butcher), Cr. Nobelius impressed on the audience the desirability of bearing in mind our obligation to the men at the Front, and of making some fitting recognition of their services when the boys come home. The meeting closed with the National Anthem and cheers for the King.

I was surprised to find an article on Emerald  in the Camberwll and Hawthorn Advertiser, but Emerald was part of the Shire of Fern Tree Gully at the time, so it was more closely connected to the eastern suburbs.
This post looks at how Emerald celebrated the end of the Great War. To see how Nar Nar Goon, celebrated the Armistice, click here. To see how the Cranbourne Shire celebrated the Armistice, click here.

Celebrating the Armistice in the Cranbourne Shire in 1918

Casey-Cardinia 1914-1918: the Great War -

We are looking at how people in the area celebrated the end of the Great War.  In this post we will see how the children in the Shire of Cranbourne celebrated the momentous day.  To see how the Nar Nar Goon community celebrated Armistice Day, click here. To see how the people of Emerald celebrated, click here.

There was a full report in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of December 5, 1918 on the 'great day for juveniles' held to celebrate the signing of the Armistice.   The article is from Trove and you can read the full article here, but I have transcribed it below. It must have been an amazing experience for the children, many of whom would hardly have remembered  the time before Australia was at War and most of whom would have had  a soldier in their extended family.


South Bourke and Mornington Journal December 5, 1918http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66195176

PEACE CELEBRATIONS.At CranbourneA Great Day for the Juveniles.
To celebrate the signing of the armistice,and the consequent cessation of hostilities between the Allies and their foes, the President of the Cranbourne Shire Council (Cr D. M. McGregor) decided to give a picnic to all the children in the shire on Wednesday, November 27. For this purpose the Shire was divided into three sections, centres being established at Cranbourne, Kooweerup and Lang Lang. The following schools attended at the Cranbourne centre :- Cardinia, Currum Downs, Clyde North, Cranbourne, Devon Meadows, Lyndhurst, Lyndhurst South, Pearcedale and Tooradin; a few children from Clyde were also present.

At 11 a.m. the young folk assembled at the Shire hall, and were lined up in fours to take part in the procession, which was headed by the Langwarrian Military band. The march was down Sladen street, along Codrington and Childers streets and up High street back to the Shire hall. This was well carried out, and the teachers were complimented on the fine display made. 

On returning to the Shire hall the children formed three sides of a hollow square round the Union Jack, which was flying from the recently erected flag-pole. The flag was saluted, the declaration made, and cheers given for our King, our Empire, our Commonwealth, and our own soldier boys. All present solemnly bowed their heads in silent remembrance of the lads who can never come back to us - our honored dead.

The Shire President then gave a short address, briefly stating the reasons for the rejoicings. He then introduced Chaplain Captain Gates, who gave a very interesting address on many phases of the war. The National Anthem and ‘Our Splendid Men’ were sung by the whole assemblage, the band leading the singing.

The children were then marched to the picnic-ground, where they were arranged in rows of fifties. A handsome medallion, bearing the inscription, ‘Shire of Cranbourne. Signing of Armistice, Nov. 11, 1918’ was handed to each child. 

Dinner was served, the good things provided were of first-class quality, and the local caterers, Messrs J. Taylor and J.Thorpe, were complimented, on all sides for the excellent viands supplied. 

After dinner, games and sports were indulged in during the afternoon. Races of all kinds for boys and girls were spiritedly contested and the judges, Messrs Callanan and McKenzie, had their work cut out to separate the winners from the rest. The sports were managed by representatives of the various school committees and teachers, with Mr J. H. White as starter. It was unanimously agreed that the kiddies had had a great afternoon.

Shortly after 4 o'clock all again wended their way to the picnic ground, where tea was  heartily partaken of. After enjoying a splendid meal each child was presented with a bag of sweets. Before dispersing ringing cheers were given for President McGregor for his kindly thoughtfulness in giving the children such an enjoyable time.  The President, in a few words, gracefully acknowledged the compliment. 

The merry-go-round was a great source of pleasure, not only to the juveniles, but also to ‘the children of a larger growth’, many elderly folk seeming to enjoy a ride as much as the little ones. 

The Langwarrin Military band played some very fine selections during the day, and added greatly to the enjoyment of the gathering. 

The picnic was a great success in every way. All the arrangements for the festivities were made by the local committee, of which Mr J. H. White was chairman and Mr D. A. Schulze, hon. secretary. The organization for the day was highly praised. All the details had been carefully planned beforehand, consequently everything worked with the most smoothness. The ladies of the town and district again proved themselves to be willing and efficient workers.

President McGregor was delighted with the success of the day's rejoicing, and no doubt feels exceedingly grateful to all, who in any way, helped to make the event what it truly was - a red letter day in the history of Cranbourne.

In this post we looked at Armistice celebrations in the Cranbourne Shire. To see how Nar Nar Goon celebrated the Armistice, click here. To see how Emerald celebrated the end of the Great War, click here.

Celebrating the Armistice at Nar Nar Goon in 1918

Casey-Cardinia 1914-1918: the Great War -

I thought we would have  look at how Armistice Day was celebrated in 1918. This short article was in the Pakenham Gazette on November 29 1918
Pakenham Gazette  November 29, 1918http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92152288
The following week's edition (December 6)  had  a full report of the activities. The article is on-line on Trove and you can access the article here and I have provided a transcription, below.  The day was highly successful with over 1,000 people attending the event, a huge amount of people, nearly everyone in the district must have attended.


Pakenham Gazette  December 6, 1918http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92152950

NAR NAR GOONA PEACE CELEBRATIONWednesday last was a red letter day in the history of Nar Nar Goon, the occasion being a public demonstration  and picnic in connection with the celebration of peace. 
The day was observed as a public holiday, all business places being closed, and it may be safely asserted that most of the residents of the district not only took part in the demonstration but did their best towards making it a success. 
About a fortnight ago the towns people decided that it was desirable that something should be done to mark their appreciation of the glad news that an armistice had been declared and that there was every indication of an early and lasting peace. An appeal was made for funds to meet the expenses of the celebration, and this met with a most generous response, about £50 being raised. 
Wednesday's event was a credit to the town and district, and it will always be looked back upon with interest. Both young and old entered into the spirit of the day, and as a result everything worked smoothly and all had an enjoyable outing.
The day's proceedings opened with a monster procession, which completely eclipsed anything of the kind ever seen in the district, comprising 130 vehicles and numerous horsemen. A number of the vehicles, including buggies, jinkers and lorries, were nicely decorated with greenery and flowers, and there was a profusion of flags, all the Allies being represented. 
An effigy of the Kaiser, the handiwork of Mr Mappin, of Tynong, was mounted on a horse. This was safe guarded by Master J. Ede, in the character of ‘ John Bull’,  and was a special attraction.
Space will not permit of a description of the various vehicles, but it may be said that all were  attractive, those of Mr E. Oram, representing ‘The Day’ and Mr J. Spencer, representing ‘Peace’ being worthy of special mention.
Amongst those with decorated vehicles were :- Messrs A. Harris, M. Dore, J. Mortimer, J. Mulcare, T. Eves, A. Thorn, J. Kenny, J. Gray, S. Collins, T. Garrett, J. Latta, R. Brooke, T. Grigg, E. Oram, J. Spencer, jun., and J. R. Spencer, the last named driving a fine team of four greys in a buggy. There was also a decorated motor, driven by Mr Donald. Some of the riders were in fancy costume. amongst the number being Miss M Raftis (Ireland) and Master Wadsley (England). 
The procession was formed into line at about 11 o'clock, and, headed by the Richmond Juvenile Brass Band, marched from the township to the place chosen for the day's picnic. 
Four returned soldiers, viz., Ptes. W. Comely, P. Neilsson and H. J. Lennon, of Tynong, and Pte. G. Bjursten, of Cora Lynn, held a prominent position in the procession. 
On arrival at the ground judging took place for prizes in connection with the procession, and the awards were as follows: Best decorated vehicle: Mr E. Oram, Tynong, ‘The Day’. Best Group: Nar Nar Goon. Most original character: Master Ede, Tynong, ‘John Bull’.Special prize: The Kaiser. 
There were about 1,000 persons on the ground, and a sports programme was carried through, providing plenty of enjoyment for young and old.  A merry-go-round was provided for the children. 
Thanks to the excellent management of the committee and the cordial cooperation of all present, the celebrations throughout were a decided success

Prime Minister's Literary Awards

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The winners of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards have been announced. Prizes were awarded in six categories including fiction, poetry, non-fiction, Australian history, children’s and young adult literature. The winning entries were selected from a shortlist of 30 exceptional books by some of Australia’s most well regarded authors with the Prime Minister making the final decision.

The winners are:


FICTION – JOINT WINNERS
The Life of Houses, Lisa Gorton 
The Natural Way of Things, Charlotte Wood

POETRY
The Hazards, Sarah Holland-Batt

NON-FICTION – JOINT WINNERS
On Stalin's Team: The years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics, Sheila Fitzpatrick
Thea Astley: Inventing her own Weather, Karen Lamb

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY – JOINT WINNERS
The Story of Australia's People, Geoffrey Blainey AC 
Let My People Go: The Untold Story of Australia and the Soviet Jews 1959-89, Sam Lipski AM, co-author, and Suzanne D Rutland OAM, co-author

For full details, visit http://www.minister.communications.gov.au/mitch_fifield/news/2016_prime_ministers_literary_awards_winners#.WCJjmvl95PY

~ Deb. 

Wrong side of goodbye

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Harry Bosch is back in Michael Connelly's Wrong Side of Goodbye and he is on a very different journey, but with the same Harry Bosch dedication to the job.

From the blurb: "Unstoppable detective Harry Bosch returns in a new thriller from #1 bestselling author Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch is California's newest private investigator. He doesn't advertise, he doesn't have an office, and he's picky about who he works for, but it doesn't matter. His chops from 30 years with the LAPD speak for themselves. Soon one of Southern California's biggest moguls comes calling. The reclusive billionaire has less than six months to live and a lifetime of regrets. He hires Bosch to find out whether he has an heir. Using all of his cold case skills, Bosch pieces together a 65-year-old mystery and finds out that the case is not as simple--or cold--as he thought. California's newest private investigator, Harry Bosch, searches for a reclusive billionaire's possible heir, a case with odd links to his own past, and volunteers to find a serial rapist for a small cash-strapped police department."

Harry Bosch is an amazing character who has developed through many Michael Connelly novels and its amazing to continue that journey here in a new stage of his professional life.   The two main storylines that are covered in this novel, keep you engaged and guessing and wondering as to who the "bad guys" are and whether they will get away with it.

Corporate greed, loyalty, personal greed, revenge and much more tie in to the stories, told masterfully once more by Connelly. Bosch personal ethics and commitment are challenged, making this an all round story, not just a murder mystery.

You don't have to have read any of the Harry Bosch stories to enjoy this one, but I am sure that Bosch fans will and anyone else will find much to like in "Wrong Side of Goodbye".

~ Michelle

Gold Mining in Beaconsfield and Berwick region

Links to our Past - history -

The Berwick Beaconsfield area was once the location of gold fields.  What do we know about this gold discovery? The Early Days of Berwick (first published in 1948) had this to say about the subject  There were numerous gold mining companies about this time in 1870. To mention two, there were the Berwick Amalgamated Quartz Mining Co. and Happy-Go-Lucky Gold and Quartz Mining Company. As they brought numerous cases before the Court for non-payment of calls they could not have been too payable. In later years I heard my father speaking of another gold mining show in the district called the Go Bung which did not had a  very promising name to say the least of it. (This is from page 22)

This is also from The Early Days of Berwick   In even earlier days it is interesting to note that that the population of Beaconsfield exceeded that of  Berwick no doubt due to the gold mining activities carried out in Beaconsfield.... The gold mining was carried out in gullies named Mayfields, Walkers, Sailors and Haunted Gullies. An explanation of the latter being so named was said to be due to a miner wandering about the bush in the nude and appearing ghost like to his mates who were more or less in a similar condition of inebriation. (This is from page 115) Haunted Gully is now part of the Beaconsfield Reservoir.

This is what it says in the In the Wake of the Pack Tracks book
In 1872 H.J Valentine found gold south of Beaconsfield Upper in the Haunted Gully, now covered by Beaconsfield Reservoir. Prospecting was also carried out in Mayfield Gully to the east and Sailors and Welcome Gullies to the west. At one time over 200 miners were reported to be working in the locality. However yields were small and not payable  and no mother lode located (This is from page 57)

Also from In the Wake of the Pack Tracks (page 54)
For a time gangs of Chinese diggers, many wearing pigtails arrived at the Beaconsfield Railway station by the first train on Mondays and walked in single file up the Chinaman’s track (Bowman’s track) to the Haunted Gully diggings in Upper Beaconsfield.

The Berwick Amalgamated  Quartz Mining Company was registered on July 23, 1866 and as you can see from the notice in the Government Gazette, below, there were many familiar  local 'names' as shareholders - John Brisbane, Robert Bain, James Gibb, William and Ralph Brunt to name  a few.

Victoria Government Gazette July 27, 1866http://gazette.slv.vic.gov.au/

The Happy-Go-Lucky Gold and Quartz Mining Company was registered on April 26, 1869. The General Meeting of the Company was held in January at Souter's Gippsland Hotel at Beaconsfield where William Brisbane, James Gibb, S.W Brooke, David O'Shea and Charles Souter were elected Directors. You can read an article in the Gippsland Times about this meeting here.
Victoria  Government Gazette April 30, 1869http://gazette.slv.vic.gov.au/
There seems to have been a few different stages of gold discovery in the area - the establishment of the Mining Companies ( Berwick Amalgamated  Quartz Mining Company and Happy-Go-Lucky Gold and Quartz Mining Company) in the late 1860s, possibly as speculative ventures, then the actual discovery of gold in the region, which according to various reports on Trove was in 1873 and then there was another small gold rush in the early 1890s.

The Argus of June 16 1873 had this to say about the gold discovery in Berwick in 1873 -

The new gold field lately discovered in the ranges near Berwick about 30 miles from Melbourne, has excited some little interest, and new life has been infused by the discovery into the hitherto somewhat dull township. The scene of the operations can be reached without much difficulty. The road as far as Berwick is the main road to GippsLand, and in dry weather presents few difficulties, but in the rainy season some parts of the road are rendered almost impassable. The worst portions of the road are between Oakleigh and Mulgrave, where an attempt has been made to mend the road with clayey mud, the effect being anything but pleasant to travellers. The diggings lie about five miles north-east of the township of Berwick, amongst the spurs of the Dividing Range. The nearest way of reaching the gold-field is from the Gipps Land Hotel, near Kardinia Creek. A track leads from there to the diggings and is easily passable on horseback or on foot, but the steep ranges render the road scarcely suitable for vehicles. The mining operations are confined almost entirely to Haunted Gully and the immediately adjacent gullies. It is about two years since the prospecting for gold was commenced in that locality by some men employed by Mr. C. Wiseheart, of Melbourne, and other persons who were convinced that the country in that direction was auriferous. Some of the gullies were tested, and the result showed that the belief was not ill-founded. A shaft was sunk in Haunted Gully last year by a man named Valentine, and a quantity of washdirt was obtained averaging 6dwt per load. A prospectors' lease of 30 acres in the gully was applied for by Mr. Wiseheart and those who were acting with him, and the ground was pegged out. The news of the discovery however soon spread and in a short time the place was rushed. The ground which had been already secured by Mr Wiseheart was taken up, and in consequence of the difficulties which arose the matter was bought under the notice of the Minister of Mines. A compromise which, according to the nature of compromises, was not considered satisfactory by either side, was effected, and it was decided that Mr. Wiseheart should be allowed to choose 10 acres. He has selected 10 acres in the upper part of the gully, and the remainder of the ground which he applied for has been taken up by the other miners. The foregoing facts show the circumstances which have already transpired in connexion with this new discovery of auriferous country, but a description of the present appearance of the gold-field will doubtless prove of more general interest. You can read the rest of the article here.

There are other articles in the newspapers about the dispute between Mr Wiseheart and the other miners. I have created a list of many of the articles on Trove relating to these goldfields, you can access the list here.

There was also another minor gold discovery in the region in 1893. Clearly as Beaconsfield did not turn into another Ballarat, then the discovery must have also been economically unviable.


The Age May 7 1891http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article190632810
As mentioned before, I  have created a list of many of the articles on Trove relating to these goldfields, you can access the list here.

Delta Lady: a memoir

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Delta Lady: a memoir by Rita Coolidge

She inspired songs - Leon Russell wrote "A Song for You" and "Delta Lady" for her; Stephen Stills wrote "Cherokee." She co-wrote songs - "Superstar" and, unaccredited, the piano coda to "Layla". She sang backup for Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker and Stills before finding fame as a solo artist with such hits as "We're All Alone" and "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher".

Following her from Lafayette, Tennessee, to her becoming one of the most sought-after rock vocalists in Los Angeles in the 1970s, Delta Lady chronicles Rita Coolidge's fascinating journey through the '60s and '70s pop-rock universe.

I remember so well two-time Grammy award winner Rita's soulful voice on the songs she sang, and I own a copy of her top selling album 'Anytime Anywhere'. 

It was interesting to read her story and this memoir covers her life from when she was a child to her life today where she is still touring and singing. She tells about her times with Joe Cocker and was part of the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour; her relationship with Graham Nash where she had been unfairly blamed for breaking up Crosby, Stills & Nash - the group. Her tumultuous marriage to Kris Kristofferson where life imitated art, especially after his starring role in A Star is Born with Barbra Streisand, is also chronicled in this memoir. It was a time of sex, drugs and rock and roll in the 70s. I really enjoyed this book.'

- Janine


The Bone Collection

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Bone Collection is Kathy Reich's latest title in the Temperance Brennan series (also the basis for the Bones TV series).  However, as the title states, this is a collection, of four short novellas, but still about Tempe and some interesting issues and one backtrack to how she started working on criminal cases.

From the blurb: The No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs is renowned for suspense and fascinating forensic detail. Now she brings that same artistry to her first volume of collected short stories. In First Bones, a prequel to Reichs's very first novel, Deja Dead , she at last reveals how Tempe became a forensic anthropologist. In this never-before-published story, Tempe recalls the case that lured her from a promising career in academia into the grim but addictive world of criminal investigation. Three more stories take Tempe from the low country of the Florida Everglades, where she makes a grisly discovery in the stomach of an eighteen-foot Burmese python, to the heights of Mount Everest, where a frozen corpse is unearthed. No matter where she goes, Tempe's cases make for the most gripping reading. 

Apart from the prequel short story, the other three stories deal with puppy farms, the python plague in the Everglades and Nepali aid after their devastating earthquake.  Each story is over 10 chapters and includes a short word from the author after it, outlining where the inspiration for the story came from and how to help with the issue at hand.

Each story is a mini novel in itself and even though they are short, Reichs still brings her master storytelling into it and each one is a 'can't put it down' read.  She is imaginative in the ways that she tells and takes her storylines and I found it interesting that sometimes I could pick where she was taking things and other times I couldn't.  It was also very interesting in discovering the back story and seeing what Tempe was like, including her personal life, before she became "Bones".

For any Kathy Reichs fans, this is a must.  If you like mysteries with a different angle, this is highly recommended.  The Bone Collection is a good read and having four short novellas in it, makes reading it a bit easier.

~ Michelle

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