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Breaking Cover

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Breaking Cover by Stella Rimington
#9 Liz Carlyle series.

Back in London after a gruelling operation in Paris, Liz Carlyle has been posted to MI5's counter-espionage desk. British relations with Russia are tense in the wake of Putin's incursions into the Ukraine. Discovering that an elusive Russian spy has entered the UK, Liz needs to track him down before he completes his fatal mission - and plunges Britain back into the Cold War.

Meanwhile, following the revelations of Edward Snowden, the intelligence services are in the spotlight. MI6 hires Jasminder Kapoor, a controversial civil rights lawyer, to explain the issues around privacy and security to the public. But in this new world of shadowy motives, Jasminder must careful about whom she trusts. One night Kapoor is brutally mugged and almost raped in a seemingly random attack, but is saved in the nick of time by a feisty Norwegian who happened to be passing by. She strikes up a romance with the handsome banker but there’s something about him that seems too good to be true.

Why we love it: 
In Breaking Cover, veteran MI5 insider and author Stella Rimington delivers a clever, fast-paced and timely espionage thriller that reflects up-to-the minute current events and her own insider knowledge of the intelligence services.

~ from The Team at Better Reading 


The Trap

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Trap by Melanie Raabe

Twelve years ago, Linda Conrad’s sister Anna was brutally murdered. Her killer was never identified, but Linda glimpsed his face as he escaped. 

Now, all these years later, she’s just seen him again, on TV. He’s become a well-known journalist, and Linda - a famous novelist and notorious recluse - knows no one will believe her if she accuses him. So she sets out to trap him, writing a thriller called ‘Blood Sisters’ about the unsolved murder of a young woman. And agrees to give just one interview.  At home.  To the only person who knows more about the case than she does. But is he the killer - or is she losing her mind?

What ensues will have the reader wondering what is real and unreal, as well as a whole lot of tension built into the mix. This enthralling story leads the reader to doubt their predictions as to the book’s ending, and the twist at the end will have you reeling. It is beautifully staged, using narrative in the present as well as excerpts from Linda’s new novel, to tease the reader with fact and fiction. 

This was a debut novel for Melanie Raabe, and translated from German by Imogen Taylor. A great read for fans of psychological thrillers.

~ Narelle


ALS GOLD MEDAL AWARD

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Australian Literature Society Gold Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding literary work in the preceding calendar year. The Medal was inaugurated by the Australian Literature Society, which was founded in Melbourne in 1899 and incorporated into the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) in 1982.

The medal was originally awarded for the best novel published in the previous year but, since 1937, other literary forms have been eligible for consideration. No nominations are required, though ASAL members are invited to propose potential winners to a judging panel.

On this year's shortlist:

Novels:
The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau 
Forever Young by Steve Carroll 
Mannix by Brenda Niall  
The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop
Clade by James Bradley

Works of life writing:
Second Half First by Drusilla Modjeska 
One Life: Story of my Mother by Kate Grenville

Short Story collections:
Six Bedrooms by Teegan Bennet Daylight 
A Few Days in the Country by Elizabeth Harrower.

The judges awarded the 2016 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal to Brenda Niall for Mannix.

The judging panel said: "Niall’s Mannix stood out as a meticulously researched work, ambitious in its scope and
beautifully and patiently written.  Brenda Niall is that kind of writer who remains throughout the book both a master storyteller completely in control of the wealth of material she uncovers and an unassuming presence whose skill and gift create a work of sheer craftsmanship."

Deb

Batavia

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Batavia by Peter FitzSimons
Narrated by Richard Aspel

This true story begins in 1629, when the pride of the Dutch East India Company, the Batavia, is on its maiden voyage en route from Amsterdam to the Dutch East Indies, laden down with the greatest treasure to leave Holland. The magnificent ship is already boiling over with a mutinous plot that is just about to break into the open when, just off the coast of Western Australia, it strikes an unseen reef in the middle of the night. 

While Commandeur Francisco Pelsaert decides to take the long-boat across 2000 miles of open sea for help, his second-in-command Jeronimus Cornelisz takes over, quickly deciding that 250 people on a small island is unwieldy for the small number of supplies they have. Quietly, he puts forward a plan to 40 odd mutineers how they could save themselves, kill most of the rest and spare only a half-dozen or so women, including his personal fancy, Lucretia Jansz - one of the noted beauties of Holland - to service their sexual needs. A reign of terror begins, countered only by a previously anonymous soldier Wiebbe Hayes, who begins to gather to him those are prepared to do what it takes to survive... 

The author has a distinct style with his wonderful fictionalised non-fiction – as mentioned in previous reviews he ‘breathes life into tales that have either been long forgotten, or told and retold a hundred times’. (I've read and reviewed Mawson and Eureka previously here on RR.)

Like most Australians, I'd heard snippets about the wreck of the Batavia but was not aware of the whole story.  And what an amazing story it is!  The wreck of the Batavia has inspired books, radio and TV documentaries, plays and an opera. Lust, jealously, greed, madness, deception, rape, murder - all the classic ingredients conspire in the Batavia story to produce a scenario that is truly frightening.

Richard Aspel has his narrating skills sorely tested in this book – the Dutch names are a real mouthful, but it all sounded authentic to me.  As with audio books, it’s always interesting to see unfamiliar words actually in print; take a couple above for example.  In the audio book Jeronimus is pronounced Hero-nee-mus, Lucretia is pronounced Loo-cra-tee-ah (not Loocreesha as you would read it), and Wiebbe Hayes pronounced as Feeber Hize.

Although the cruelty of the times is quite breath-taking, I was enthralled with this book, it was a real historical eye-opener. The introduction is a tad long-winded, but Peter FitzSimons has done well yet again .  We have this title in downloadable e-book and e-audio, plus audio CD and MP3, as well as print and large print formats.

~ Deb

Kill Your Mortgage ...

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Kill Your Mortgage and Sort Your Retirement by Hannah McQueen

Many of us fritter away a lot of our income when we could be putting it to much better use. In this book Hannah McQueen gives you the skills to create a surplus and then use it wisely. 

A mortgage is the biggest expense you'll ever have and Hannah shows you how to pay it off more quickly, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments... Whether you are just starting out and hoping to buy a house, building up your assets or planning for retirement, this book is for you. 

It begins with 'First things first' - your money personality, how to budget, whether to rent or buy and how to save for a house or other big ticket item. It moves on to 'Kill your mortgage' with Hannah's practical tips on paying off the mortgage as quickly as possible, and how to cut day-to-day costs. 'Sort your retirement' will help you ensure you have enough funds for your retirement by creating a cash surplus and investing wisely.

This book is not afraid to tackle the financial elephants in the room and discusses tricky issues that may at first be confronting, but ultimately informative and empowering. It is a practical go-to guide on confronting your finances and changing your habits for the better...

Hannah McQueen hits the nail on the head with her terminilogy and no-nonsense advice. For example she'll speak of "frittering" away surplus cash (see The Fritter Factor graph on p. 49); "frugal fatigue" and "do not be naive enough to think of the bank being a friend".  Some of her chapter titles are "Credit Cards - don't trust them" and "Money, relationships and being happy".  

She knows her subject and cuts to the chase!

~ Ali

French Island Great War Soldiers

Casey-Cardinia 1914-1918: the Great War -

French Island is not part of any Local Government area - but it does border the Shire of Cranbourne and has historic connections to local towns through trade, sport, recreation and medical matters. There is a touching article in the Mornington Standard of August 22, 1895 about  a French Island settler who had an accident, he was then conveyed two and  a half miles on a stretcher to a  boat, where they had to wait until low tide when he was rowed across to Tooradin,  a voyage that took two hours. The Doctor from Cranbourne met him at Tooradin. He then had to wait until the next day before he could be sent to hospital  by train and the article ends with this sad note 'No hopes are entertained of his recovery' You can read the full report here
There are also accounts of injured Islanders being taken to Lang Lang for medical treatment. Other newspaper accounts relate to holiday makers staying at Tooradin and visiting French Island for the day and the French Island cricket team playing against Tooradin. In 1946 Ken Gartside established a regular barge service between Tooradin and French Island, previous to this Islanders had to use their own boats to cart goods. You can read an account in the Dandenong Journal about this barge here.
So because we have these historic connections to French Island I feel the soldiers deserve a place in our blog. What follows is a list of French Island soldiers including their Service Number (SN) so you can look up their full service record at the National Archives of Australia www.naa.gov.au

All of these  soldiers are listed on the French Island Honour Board, located at the French Island Community Hall. You can see a photograph of the Honour Board on the Monument Australia website here. There may be more who should be in this list, feel free to let me know. The main towns on French Island are Tankerton and Fairhaven.




Powlett Express  February 25 1916http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article130662774
This article from the Powlett Express said that there were 19 men who had enlisted by 1916
Bayford, Hugh Staynes (SN 1878) Hugh was 25 years old when he enlisted on February 7 1916. His next of kin was his mother who lived in Moreland, but according to the Electoral Rolls Hugh had been  a farmer on French Island since 1909. Hugh was Wounded in Action on three occasions, including sustaining a gun shot wound to his right eye and Returned to Australia on November 8, 1918.

Bennetts, Albert Edward (SN 7029)  Albert enlisted on January 25, 1916 at the age of 34. He was a farmer from Fairhaven.  Albert Returned to Australia on June 2, 1919 and according to the Electoral Rolls returned to living on French Island.

Bond, Frederick William (SN 585)  Frederick was a 28 year old miner when he enlisted on September 5, 1914 at Rosebery Park in New South Wales. His next of kin was his father, James Bond, of French Island. Frederick was Killed in Action at Gallipoli on April 27, 1915.


The Argus June 8, 1915http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1522685

Chapman, Albert Claude (SN 2790) A.C Chapman is listed on the Honour Board and there is an Albert Claude Chapman on the Electoral Roll at Fairhaven in 1918, occupation farmer so I presume they are the same people, however I cannot actually link Albert to French Island through any information in his service record. Albert enlisted on November 30, 1916 aged 32, his occupation was warehouseman, he was born in England and his next of kin was his father who lived in London. Albert Returned to Australia January 25, 1919.

Chilcott, Frank William Leslie  (SN 5673) Frank enlisted on February 7, 1916 aged 24. His next of kin was his mother, Margaret Chilcott, of French Island. Frank Returned to Australia on June 12, 1919.

Collinson, John Henry (SN Depot)   J.Henry is listed on the Honour Board and   the Electoral Roll lists  a John Henry Collinson at Fairhaven from 1918 until 1927. I presume this is the same John Henry Collinson who enlisted on May 22 1915 at the age of 21. He was an electrician. John was discharged as unfit for military service on July 5, 1915 due to 'overlapping toes', the 'first toe on both feet overlap the big toe' was the note on his record.
Collinson, Wilfred (SN 2210)  Wilfred was born in Hull, in Yorkshire in England, as was John, above, so I believe they were brothers. Wilfred enlisted at age of 19 on November 16, 1914. Wilfred Returned to Australia on April, 10 1919.There are two letters in Wilfred's file from Mrs Jean Harrop, 'Long View', Tankerton  one dated May 26, 1919 and the other dated June 5 1919 (see below) asking for information about Wilfred. In one letter she writes 'I am interested and would like accurate information' The response was that they didn't have an official report on Collinson but if they did they would communicate with his next of kin, his father. I wonder who Mrs Harrop was? She was also connected to Alfred Pocock, below.

National Archives of Australia www.naa.gov.au First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920
Cremin, J  The Honour Roll lists a J. Cremin and according to the National Archives there were only two Cremins who enlisted - John Francis Cremin (SN 593) and a Samuel Cremin (SN 369). There was however, a James Stuart Cremen (SN 838) who also enlisted. So if we eliminate Samuel then we are left with John and James. I think we can eliminate James Stuart Cremen as he was born, worked (as a crockery packer) and enlisted in Sydney, the surname spelling is irrelevant as I have seen lots of incorrect surnames on Honour Boards. That leaves us with John Francis Cremin (SN 593) John  was born in Scotland, his next of kin was his mother who lived in London. He enlisted on April 16, 1915 at Broadmeadows at the age of 21 and he was a Clerk. John married Ada May Lambourne in May 1917 when he was in England. John Returned to Australia on June 16, 1919 and the couple are listed in the Electoral Rolls in the 1920s as living in Prahran. Is John the J. Cremin listed on the Honour Roll? I can find nothing that connects him to French Island, but I feel that he's the most likely candidate,  but happy to be proven wrong.

Cuttriss, John  (SN 1135)  John was a 27 year old motor boatman of Fairhaven when he enlisted at the age of 27 on March 6, 1916. He Returned to Australia January 10, 1918 and was discharged on medical  grounds in August 1918, due to a gun shot wound to the right elbow.

Edhouse, Charles Edward (SN 333a)  Charles was a 21 year old farm hand when he enlisted on April 24, 1916. His address on the Embarkation Roll was care of R. De La Haye, Fairhaven, French Island. Charles Returned to Australia July 9, 1919.

Gillings, Robert (SN 19847)  Robert was a 22 year old labourer, from French Island,  and he enlisted on November 23, 1915. Next of Kin was his father who lived in England. He Returned to Australia on February 19, 1919.

Griffiths, Ivor (SN 5377) Ivor was born in Wales and he enlisted on January 15, 1916 aged 24. He was a farmer from Tankerton. Ivor Returned to Australia December 12, 1918.

Haward, Martin Francis (SN 17859) Martin  enlisted on April 3, 1917, he was a 24 year old telephone mechanic from Tankerton. Martin Returned to Australia June 16, 1919.

Hill, James (SN 2782) - see below under Charles Williams.

Iliff, George Robert (SN 1734) George enlisted on May 20, 1915, he was a 22 year old labourer. He served overseas but suffered  a number of bouts of disease and Returned to Australia on October 17, 1916 and was medically discharged in April 1917.
Iliff, Joseph Ludwig (SN 6334) Joseph was a 29 year old farm labourer when he enlisted on October 25, 1916. He Returned to Australia August 8, 1919.
Iliff, William Charles (SN 1137) William enlisted at the age of 24 on July 28 1915. He Returned to Australia April 8, 1919. William was granted a Soldier Settlement farm after his return on Eight Mile Road at Nar Nar Goon - you can read about this on the Battle to Farm website here.
George, Joseph and William were brothers and their next of kin was their mother, Bertha, of Tankerton. Their father, Joseph, had died in 1905.

Lovie, William Wallace (SN 14077) William enlisted on February 1, 1916 at the age of 21. He was from Fairhaven. He Returned to Australia on June 2, 1919.

Maddaford, Alfred (SN 2035)   enlisted on July 28, 1915 at the age of 26. He was discharged on medical grounds in June 1916 as he had 'chronic epilepsy'
Maddaford, Richard James (SN 2949) Richard enlisted at the age of 28 on February 18 1916. He was Killed in Action in France on April 24 1918. There was an article about his death in the Powlett Express, see below.
Richard and Alfred both had their sister Lily (sometimes spelt Lillie)  as their next of kin. When Alfred enlisted her address was Ballarat (where they were born)  but when Richard enlisted her address was Tankerton. However according to the Electoral Roll, in 1909 Richard and Lily were both on French Island and in 1912 Richard and Alfred were both living on French Island and Lily had moved back to Ballarat, but was obviously back on the Island by 1916.




Powlett Express June 7 1918http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article130665657
Meade, Frederick John (SN 4730) Frederick was a 36 year old labourer and a widower and he enlisted on February 23, 1916. His address on the Embarkation roll is French Island and his next of kin was a friend, Miss Maggie D'Arth of Stony Point.  He was discharged on medical grounds in May 1916 due to multiple fistulas which caused an abscess. Frederick married Maggie and they had three children, Charles, Frederick and Vera and are listed on the Electoral Rolls at French Island, until at least 1936.

Nicholls, Richard Wilfred (SN 4154) Richard was only 18 when he enlisted on October 26, 1915. He was a farm labourer. His next of kin was his friend, Miss Nellie Bond, of Tankerton. Nellie was the sister of Frederick Bond, listed above, who was killed at Gallipoli and the sister in law to Ernest Sisson (see below).  Richard was awarded the Military Medal and Returned to Australia on January 18, 1919.

Pocock, Alfred James William (SN 6883)  Alfred  enlisted at the age of  18 on February 12, 1917. He was born in England, occupation was farming labourer and his next of kin was his father of The Grange in Dandenong (although his Embarkation record says his father lived in View Street, Mont Albert) Alfred went overseas and was wounded in action in May 1918 (gun shot wound arm and left thigh) and he Returned to Australia on January 22, 1920. We can connect Albert to French Island as his enlistment paper  has his address as C/O Mrs Harrop, Tankerton, French Island, the  same Mrs Harrop who wrote two letters enquiring after the well being of Wilfred Collinson (see above) - in fact it's the same writing so she must have filled out Alfred's application form.

National Archives of Australia www.naa.gov.au First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920
Ratford, John (SN 2982) John enlisted on February 5, 1916. He was a 22 year old labourer. John Returned to Australia on March 5, 1919.Ratford, William John (SN 1493)  William enlisted on  August 24, 1914 at the age of 23. He was a farmer. On August 2, 1915 William  received a Gun shot wound to his femur and he Returned to Australia on December 4, 1915 and was medically discharged on April 11, 1916.
John and William are the sons of John Ratford of Tankerton.

There is an interesting account of  a cricket match between French Island and Tooradin in the Mornington Standard of May 17, 1919, which mentions the return of John Ratford to the team 'after an absence of three years at a more strenuous game' You can read the full article here


Mornington Standard May 17, 1919http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65852539

Sisson, Ernest William  (SN 6641) Ernest enlisted on February 17, 1916 at the age of 31. He was a farmer and a widower. Ernest had married Kathleen Bond in 1914 and she passed away in  April 1915. Kathleen was the daughter of James and Emma (nee Witts) Bond and the sister of Frederick Bond, listed above. Ernest remarried when he was in England to Evaline Gillins and he Returned to Australia on May 12, 1918. Ernest was Medically Discharged on August 14, 1918, suffering from 'Myelogenenus Leukaemia'

Thompson, William (SN 61937) William was 23 when he enlisted on December 17, 1917. He was a 23 year old farmer and his next of kin was his father, Joseph, of Tankerton. He embarked from Melbourne on October 5, 1918. arrived at Cape Town in South Africa in early November, where he was in hospital with the measles and then Returned to Australia on December 4, 1918.

Walden, Charles William (SN 20362)  Charles was a 23 years farm labourer when he enlisted on September 1, 1915. Charles got married when he was overseas in April 1919 and Returned to Australia on July 23, 1919. His wife's name was listed as Minnie Maria Walden, so did he marry a  cousin or was it just a coincidence that they had the same surname?
Walden, Henry (SN 6137) Henry enlisted on March 8, 1916 at the age of 21. He served overseas and sustained a gun shot wound to his right thigh on August 23, 1918 and Returned to Australia December 12, 1918.
Charles and Henry were the sons of  Charles Walden of Tankerton.

Williams, Charles (SN 5782) Charles enlisted on February 17, 1916, he was a 24 year old farmhand from Tankerton. Charles was Wounded in Action (Gun shot wound, right thigh) on December 22, 1916, which required his leg to amputated and he passed away on January 12, 1917. There is a Statuary Declaration in his military file where Charles states that his real name is James Hill, not Charles Williams. It would be interesting to know why he enlisted under  a false name.

Yeomans, J The French Island Honour Board lists a J. Yeomans, not sure who this is.  There is Joseph Yeomans (SN 332), John William Yeomans (SN Depot), Lieutenant Julian Clyde Yeoman, James Yeoman (SN Depot), James Yeoman (SN 1696) and Captain John Stanhope Yeoman. The most likely candidate in my mind is John William Yeomans (SN Depot) who was 19 when he enlisted on August 10, 1918. His occupation was a driver and his next of kin was his father, of Bakers Road, Blackburn. John was discharged on medical grounds on November 8, 1918 due to 'old injury to elbow and old infantile paresis' but I cannot connect him (or any of them) to French Island.

The Sand Dollar

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Sand Dollar by Maggie Christensen

What if you discover everything you believed to be true about yourself has been a lie? 

Stunned by news of an impending redundancy, and impelled by the magic of a long-forgotten sand dollar*, widow Jenny Sullivan retreats to her godmother in Oregon to consider her future. What she doesn't bargain for is to uncover the secret of her adoption at birth and her Native American heritage. This revelation sees her embark on a journey of self-discovery such as she'd never envisaged. 

Moving between Australia's Sunshine Coast and the Oregon Coast, The Sand Dollar is a story of new beginnings, of a woman whose life is suddenly turned upside down, and the reclusive man who helps her solve the puzzle of her past.

Only recently have I discovered Sunshine Coast author Maggie Christensen. How refreshing is it to read a book that not only has an engaging story in it but is steered towards relationships between mature aged adults! 

If you think this is going to be just another romance novel, no, it is so much more. Jenny makes discoveries about her life that she did not know, leading her to make a lot of decisions. I loved the way the author has woven several plot lines beautifully, just when you thought you knew what was going to happen, bang, another surprise comes up - I loved being on that roller coaster!!

This is the first book I have read by Maggie and although the Oregon Coast Series of books can be read as stand-alone I'd recommend reading them in order. The Dreamcatcher, book #2, tells Ellen's story (who owns the bookstore and features in The Sand Dollar as well). Book #3 is Madeleine House which is due out later this month. This clever Australian author has tapped into a market of mature readers who know and appreciate that love isn't just for the young! Highly recommended for readers of women's fiction or life-lit. We have both these titles available in print format.

~ Janine

* The term Sand Dollar (or sea cookie or snapper biscuit in New Zealand, or pansy shell in South Africa) refers to species of extremely flattened, burrowing sea urchins belonging to the order Clypeasteroida. Some species within the order, not quite as flat, are known as sea biscuits.

The Woman Next Door

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Woman Next Door by Liz Byrski

Emerald Street, Fremantle, has for long been a place where a lovely and loving set of neighbours have been popping in and out of each other’s houses for cups of tea, glasses of wine, and a gossip.

All that’s about to change when rock-solid couple, Joyce and Mac, decide to spend some time apart.  Joyce has been a devoted wife and mother and now in her 60s, she’s looking for a little more than marriage and motherhood. She and Mac decide to spend one year apart – she’ll stay in the house, study or volunteer while he wants to retreat to their beach place.

But their decision upsets former neighbours and good friends Helen and Dennis who have moved across town to a posh new apartment, with views of the river. Helen is outraged at her good friend Joyce’s decision, made without consulting her. But there’s more to Helen’s outrage than meets the eye...

Why we love it:
This is a delightful new novel about friendship, marriage, identity and growing old, from one of Australia’s most beloved writers.

~from the Team at Better Reading

Country: a novel

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Country by Danielle Steel

Stephanie Adam's life has just changed in an instant. After years of marriage to a man she no longer loves, and three kids grown, her husband passes away suddenly. Despite her grief and regrets, she's free at last, and can begin to think about what might come next for her.

Returning from a weekend away, Stephanie takes a wrong turn and finds herself on the road to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and new adventures, totally her own. A friendly stranger turns out to be country music megastar Chase Taylor, and he is only too happy to sweep Stephanie up on his travels.

From Vegas to Nashville, a brand new world opens up to her. Should she return to her empty house, or take a risk with someone new?


When Stephanie Adams suddenly and unexpectedly loses her husband, her life is thrown into grief and turmoil. Suddenly, she's the odd man out with all her married friends, and very much feels like the third wheel now she is a widow. When she takes a wrong turn after a terrible weekend away with her married friends and ends up in Vegas, she goes on to the Grand Canyon. There she meets a friendly man who turns out to be a famous country-Western singer, Chase Taylor. He gives her complimentary tickets to his show in Vegas. Stephanie has never done anything like this in her life, but as she now has no restrictions on who or what she does she accepts.

They start out as friends, and Chase opens a whole new world to Stephanie that she has never seen before. Of course she has three adult children who idolised their father and once he passed away they could only see the best of him, despite the fact that their mother was the one who looked after them and ferried them around to their activities all her married life. Explaining this new friendship was never going to be easy. 

As it deftly explores the complex ties between spouses, children, lovers, and friends, and dances between the past and the future, Danielle Steel’s moving novel captures the shock of sudden loss, and the freedom it can bring. 

Danielle Steel's books are very easy to read, and I quite enjoyed this Rural Romance story. I listened to it on Audio CD which was well narrated by Dan John Miller.

~Janine


Shire of Berwick - Report to Ratepayers - 1968/1969

Links to our Past - history -

This is a copy of the 'Report to Ratepayers' produced by the Shire of Berwick for 1968/1969. The Shire had an estimated population of 30,000 and covered the area from Doveton all the way down the Railway line to Bunyip and the towns north of the Highway - Narre Warren North, Harkaway, Beaconsfield Upper, Cockatoo and Gembrook and south of the Highway - Cora Lynn and Iona. There were 14,450 voters on the roll and 15,500 rateable properties. The Shire of Berwick was split onto the City of Berwick and the Shire of Pakenham in October 1973 - you can read about the chronological development of Local Government in our area here.

This shows the old Berwick Post Office in Gloucester Avenue. The Centenary Celebrations would have commemorated 100 years since the proclamation of the Shire of Berwick in 1868. The Shire Office was located in Pakenham on the corner of Main Street and John Street.

List of Councillors.

Shire statistics and a some instructions on payments of Rates. Rates, of course, was considered one of the key tenets or '3 Rs' of Local Government - the other two being Roads and Rubbish. The photo is of Edrington at Berwick - the home of the then Governor General of Australia - Lord Casey.

List of mainly Road works carried out in 1968 - the major works were carried out in the Doveton Ward, this being the most populated and also the Riding or Ward that brought in the most Rates.

On the left is the continuation of the Plans for 1969 and the right page lists some of the services provided by the Council. 2080 tons of rubbish was collected the previous year, which was burnt at Beaconsfield.

List of Rubbish tips - back when they were called 'Rubbish tips' not 'Waste management centres'. On the right page is  a list of all the Infant Welfare Centres in the Shire.

A list of other Council services and the photo is of the new Gembrook Pre-School Centre.

 A few 'Points to Observe' - the photo is of the Doveton Swimming Centre.

The Finding of Martha Lost

Reading Rewards - reviews -

TheFinding of Martha Lost by Caroline Wallace
Martha is lost. She’s been lost since she was a baby, abandoned in a suitcase on the train from Paris. Ever since, she’s waited in the station's lost property for someone to claim her.
It’s been 16 years, but she’s still hopeful.

In the meantime, there are mysteries to solve: secret tunnels under the station, a suitcase that may have belonged to The Beatles, the Roman soldier who appears at the same time every day with his packed lunch. Not to mention the stuffed monkey that someone keeps misplacing. But there is one mystery Martha cannot solve. And now the authorities have found out about the girl in lost property.

Time is running out – if Martha can’t discover who she really is, she will lose everything ...

If you’re looking for something a bit left-field, distinctly quirky, with a touch of the Gaiman-esque about it, do we have the book for you!  This was such a delight, quite a surprising read really as it’s not my usual fare.  
Set in Liverpool’s Lime Street train station, the story has two major threads running through it – Martha having to produce her birth certificate and national insurance number in order to keep living above, and working in, the station’s Lost Property office; and the search for the missing ashes of Mal Evans, former roadie for The Beatles (this part is apparently true).  These two streams bubble along with a wonderful assortment of characters to either love or hate, like watching a pantomime where you want to boo and hiss when the nasties make an appearance. 
Beautifully written with both the setting and era (1976) depicted perfectly, the main characters are wonderfully drawn; the captivating Elizabeth – who runs the coffee bar next door to the Lost Property office; George Harris – an 18 year old who dresses as a Roman Soldier in his summer job and catches a train every day; Max, the Aussie who is on the trail of Beatle memorabilia and the missing ashes; and the tragic William, a filthy hobo who lives in the tunnel under the railway station.

I borrowed the audiobook which was narrated in a fabulous Scouse accent by Katy Sobey (I could have sworn I was listening to Cilla Black) and that just capped off one of my best reads of the year.  It’s not literature and it’s not meant to be.  It’s just a magical, entertaining novel that makes you glad Martha Lost has found her way into your world.  
~ Deb

Tulliallan property at Cranbourne

Links to our Past - history -

This is a history of the Tulliallan property, which is situated in Clyde Road in Cranbourne, although most of the newspaper articles I have found on the property say it is at Berwick and now the area is technically called Cranbourne North. It is  a property that has had many prominent or socially connected owners and a few name changes. The Tulliallan property is Lots 28,29 and 45 in the Parish of Cranbourne - south of Glasscocks Road (or Pound Road as that section of road was previously known)  and  a portion is either side of Clyde Road.


Here's a bit of a mud map of Tulliallan - the property was Lots 28,29 and 45 in the Parish of Cranbourne. Click on the map to enlarge it.
Tulliallan was part of the Garem Gam Run of 3,200 acres (1300 hectares) taken up by James Bathe and T.J Perry in 1837, although some sources say it was 1840 before they actually settled on the run.  In 1845 it was subdivided and the eastern part was called Ravenhurst  and the other section was Mayune. However by 1850 or 1851 it appears that the property was leased as a whole again by Benjamin Rossiter, Maurice Feehan and Sarah O’Shea. By 1854  Benjamin Rossiter owned Lot 28 (316 acres) and his sons Charles and Thomas own Lot 45 (80 acres) amongst other land. Joseph Henderson owed Lot 29, 316 acres.


This is from The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire by Niel Gunson (Cranbourne Shire, 1968) and you can see the location of Benjamin Rossiter's Station
Benjamin Rossiter (1786 - 1858) and his wife Zillah Baynton (1789 - 1871)  had arrived in the Western Port area in 1842, having come out from Somersetshire in 1841. Benjamin Rossiter called his property Ravenhurst and this is where he died in 1858. His sons, Charles and Thomas, also used the Ravenhurst name for their property and they became the owners of  Lot 28 after their father died.


The Argus January 30, 1858http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7145810
Gunson  says that Charles (1820 to 1895)  lived at Ravenhurst  until 1873 when he moved to Hawksdale at Yallock. However, the Rate Books have Thomas Rossiter owning Lots 28 and 45 until 1875, when the land was sold to William Palmer, so he obviously stayed a bit longer.    Charles married Ellen O’Shea in 1854 - she is from the family that gave the name to O’Sheas Road.  They had eight children.   Charles was an original Committee member of the Mornington Farmers Society from 1856, a  Cranbourne Shire Councillor from 1869 to 1884 and Shire President on four occasions. Charles Rossiter bred draught horses and also agitated for the first school in the Yallock/ Koo-Wee-Rup area and he  is the source of the name Rossiter Road in Koo-Wee-Rup.
The Rossiter family married into other local families - Charles and Thomas’ sister, Mercy Rossiter (1823 - 1903)  married Henry Wedge (of the family that gave Wedge Road its name) Thomas Rossiter (1831-1907)  died in Parkes in New South Wales where he was living at the time. Thomas was also involved in the Mornington Famers Society in the early years. The Society held its first show at Cranbourne in 1857and from 1860 alternated between Cranbourne and Berwick however by the late 1880s the show was held only at Berwick.

The Rossiters sold out to William Palmer in 1875 (according to the Shire of Cranbourne Rate Books) and around 1881/1882 Lots 28 and 45 were purchased by the grandly named Stratford Strettle. By 1885 he also owns Lot 29 so this brings the two parcels of land that eventually make up Tulliallan together. Strettle called the property Gladys Park.  Stratford Abraham  Strettle was an Auctioneer and it was his firm that handled the sale of Palmers land in 1882, so it looks like he purchased it for himself.

The Age July 26, 1882http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198571466
There was a clearing sale at the property in December 1886 due to Stratford Strettle leaving the property and after this the property is leased to various tenants.   This may have been prompted by the death of Stratford’s brother, William, who accidentally shot himself dead at the house in July 1885. You can read an account of the inquest in the Weekly Times here.  Mr Strettle was apparently a generous host and you can read one account of his Christmas Festivities here.   There are reports of a legal case involving money owed by Strettle to a Miss Virginia Block. You can read about it here

In 1904, Mrs James Gibb purchases Gladys Park from Stratford Strettle  and by 1910 the Rate books list James Gibbs as the owner. The Hon James Gibb (1843 - 1919) and his brother Robert were the sons of Alexander Gibb of Campbellfield. James was the M.L.A for Mornington from 1880 to 1886 and also owned Melville Park (now Edrington in Berwick, the former home of Lord and Lady Casey) Gibbs was also a draught horse breeder and described as one of the most enterprising farmers in the State - a champion ploughman, gentleman an politician.   He was a Shire of Berwick Councillor for 30 years and the Federal Member for Flinders from 1903 to 1906.  His obituary in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of March 6, 1919 said that he could claim the credit for tree planting which made Berwick one of the most charming townships in southern Victoria. 

Robert Gibb farmed for his brother, and was also involved with the Mornington Farmers Society and a local Magistrate.  He and his wife moved to Oakleigh in 1914 and he died in 1923.

The next owner of the property was Jessie Halbert. I don't know anything about this person, they held the property for under two years and a  Joseph Halbert had part of the St Germains Estate at Clyde at the same time. Are they Joseph and Jessie Halbert, the parents of Jessie Mary Vasey who was the founder of the War Widows Guild of Australia and was instrumental in getting an increase in the War Widows pension by linking it to the rate of the basic wage?  It's an interesting connection, if this was the case,  and you can read more about Jessie Vasey in the Australian Dictionary of Biography here.

In 1913, Jessie Halbert sells to Lieutenant George A. Mitchell and it  was Mitchell who named the property Tulliallan. The Rate Books list George Mitchell owning  the property form 1913 to 1919. I am fairly certain that George is the son of Captain James Mitchell and Elizabeth (nee Anderson) of Tulliallan, Williamstown and thus when he purchased his farm in 1913 he named it Tulliallan after his family home. Captain James Mitchell was a Master Mariner, joined the Port Phillip Sea Pilots, one of the founders of the Victorian Stevedoring Co. Association and one obituary says that he was on the Committee which chose the design for the Commonwealth flag. He died in 1927 and there are advertisements in the paper for the sale of his house Tulliallan at Williamstown.  As a matter of interest one of the pall bearers at his funeral was Jules Commans who owned 540 hectares on both the north and south side of Heatherton Road in what is now called Endeavour Hills.

There are various mentions in papers on Trove which connect Lieutenant George Mitchell to Captain James Mitchell. The family appear to have been well connected and there are references in the social pages of various Melbourne papers to the engagement and weddings of the children of James and Elizabeth Mitchell.

Lieutenant Mitchell enlisted at the age of 24 on July 15, 1915. He was a 2nd Lieutenant and his next of kin was his wife, Mary Ione Mitchell. He was discharged in October 1916 as he had a ‘Commission in the Imperial Army’ and he later joined the Royal Air Force.  He obviously sold the property on his return after the war, and is listed in the Electoral Roll  as a broker and living in Melbourne. In the 1950s George and Mary were living at Ardleigh in Emerald. George died in 1965.


Advertisement for the sale of Tulliallan from The Age February 15 1919http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article155220952
Lieutenant Mitchell sold 'his most charming country home together with 743 acres of land' to Frederick Charles Curtis. The house was described as a very nice homestead, in splendid order, of 12 rooms with large billiard room, large dining room, large reception room and four large bedrooms. Hot and cold water laid on with a splendid service and the homestead is sewered. The outbuildings consist of detached kitchen, 2 pantries, 2 maids rooms, servants quarters, mens rooms........there is  a nice drive of English trees from the main road to the homestead and it is laid out with  a very nice lawn and summer house and has one of the best  gardens to be found in any country home of its size  near Melbourne. The building is listed on the City of Casey Heritage Study and you can access the citation here.

Frederick Curtis was Cranbourne Shire Councillor from 1925 to 1928.  I don’t know much about him, his wife, whom he married in 1905, was Florence Maud Crabtree and his occupation in the Electoral Rolls  was listed as grazier. Some of the activities of the family were reported in the social columns of the Melbourne papers including, in 1927,  a ‘coming of age  for their only daughter Gwennyth and a 21st celebration of their eldest son Keith’ - the headline was ‘a jolly evening at Berwick.’ Amongst the guests were local names such Greaves, Brunt, Whiteside, Loveridge.  In 1932 it was reported in the Dandenong Journal that Mr Curtis had purchased Oakdene in Langhorne Street, Dandneong. According to the Electoral Roll, Keith stayed at Tulliallan until the property was sold in 1938.


Table Talk March 31 1927http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146470818
In 1938, Faris Addison Palfreyman purchased Tulllian; he was a English Leicester and Romney Marsh sheep breeder. When the property was sold by Palfreyman in November 1946, the purchase price included the entire stock of stud sheep and Aberdeen Angus cattle valued at £8000. Palfreyman then moved to Queensland.  In May 1926, Faris Palfreyman was the best man at the wedding of Beatrice Fischer to Arthur Long - Beatrice was the granddaughter of Jules Commans, who as we found out before, was a colleague and pall bearer at the funeral of Captain James Mitchell, whose son George was a previous owner of Tulliallan. You can read all about this fashionable wedding at St Johns Church in Toorak in the Table Talk newspaper here. Is this a coincidence that Faris later became an owner of the Tulliallan property or was he already familiar with Tulliallan when he purchased the property as it appears he moved in the same social circles as the Mitchells?  Faris deid in 1983 at the age of 80.
In 1946,  James McKenzie  Elder purchased Tulliallan. I don’t have much information on him, however he married Nancy Russell Barrett in 1929 and he was the son of prominent business man, Sir James Alexander Elder and Margaret Blyth Nicoll - you can read about Sir James in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, here. The family also had their social activities reported in the social columns of the Melbourne papers - in March 1953 there was a report of a dance at Tulliallan where ‘guests sat on hay bales at open fires and danced in the sylvan setting at an outdoor party’  Susan Curtis, James’ daughter, hosted the party. Amongst the guests were some visitors from the Western District and some members of the socially prominent Chirnside family. Susan’s marriage to Geoffrey Haggard, son of the late Commander Geoffrey Haggard, R.N was the subject of a report and  a photograph in The Argus in November 1953. In December 1954 a dinner dance was held at Tulliallan for 150 people in honour of Ian Elder, Susan’s brother.

The Argus March 2 1953http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23230891

James and Nancy Elder were still at Tulliallan in 1972, according to the Electoral rolls and James died in 1978 aged 76 and Nancy in 1974, aged 70. We will leave  this history of Tulliallan owners with the Elders, but as you can see it has had many interesting at at times socially prominent and well connected owners.

Our Queen

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Our Queen by Robert Hardman

Throughout history, there has been no Monarch like her. She is not merely the oldest Sovereign we have ever known. She is the most worldly. She has travelled further than all her predecessors put together. She has met more historic figures than anyone alive - from Churchill to Mandela, de Gaulle, Reagan and Obama. And today, Queen Elizabeth II is no more contemplating retirement than she was when she came to the throne in 1952. She sits at the head of a hereditary institution so often associated with rigid tradition. And yet, it is more dynamic now than ever.

Having inherited a quasi-Edwardian insitution nearly 600 years ago, the Queen presides over a Monarchy which has managed to remain, simultaneously, popular, regal, inclusive and relevant in a 21st Century world. She has done this so effectively that she is, beyond doubt, the most respected and popular figure in British public life.

Robert Hardman explores the secrets of the Queen's success to produce a fascinating new portrait of a Sovereign who has witnessed more change than any since the creation of Great Britain. 

With the recent 90th birthday celebrations of Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, Queen Elizabeth II, I thought it appropriate to post this review I wrote some time ago about Our Queen by Robert Hardman. It is a fascinating tour behind the pomp and circumstance of this very public persona.  

As the offspring of an avid Royalist mother and grandmother who collected every book and magazine they could lay their hands on; and having lived through virtually the whole reign, it’s easy to forget some things... But some things I had never known in the first place!

I found it interesting to learn about their ‘economising’ and how that was brought about. The state visits were intriguing – the planning and organisation, the way they are conducted, the gifts and mementos brought out, pictures etc. and even why they have them in the first place.  Also Maundy Thursday I’d never heard of, so that was fascinating too.  

Sure, a lot of what is in the book has been in public knowledge - from family history to the Abdication to Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, but what lay in between is a story like no other. 

I downloaded the e-audio which was very well narrated by the author.  We also have this title in CD, MP3 and Playaway formats, plus print and large print.

~ Deb



The Language of Flowers

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, aster for patience, red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes that she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market inspires her to question what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

The idea of creating a story based on the now-almost-lost art of the language of flowers was very appealing, so I was looking forward to reading this book, particularly after noticing the many good reviews when it was first published a few years ago e.g. "mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written". 

Though the original storyline jumps from the present to past throughout, it is well written, particularly so for a debut novel, but it becomes quite an emotional and depressing read as we plod through the very long 62 chapters. 

We have this title in all formats: in audio - e-audio download, MP3, CD and Playaway and in print - e-book, standard and large print.  As I do, I chose Playaway, but Tara Sand's narration nearly drove me mad with her rolling r’s and nasal twang!  Unfortunately I had to hang in there to hear the ending, so for once I recommend hard copy as the preferable way to go.

~ Deb


COMING NEXT MONTH

Reading Rewards - reviews -

A new month is looming with some great events in our libraries to capture your attention! Scroll slowly down the red column at left under the heading UPCOMING EVENTS - from a special author visit by Melbourne crime writer - J.M. Green, to retirement income, a hands-on knitting and crochet workshop, preparing your resume, managing money, the history of Puffing Billy, crossword clues with David Astle, book sales, and 10th Birthday celebrations for Emerald Library including a day-long Blacksmithing Demonstration! 
Imagine   Explore  Understand  at your Library!  

~ Deb

Our Young Man

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Our Young Man by Edmund White


Our Young Man follows the life of a gorgeous Frenchman, Guy, as he goes from the industrial city of Clermont-Ferrand to the top of the modeling profession in New York City's fashion world, becoming the darling of Fire Island's gay community. Like Wilde's Dorian Grey, Guy never seems to age; at thirty-five he is still modelling, still enjoying lavish gifts from older men who believe he's twenty-three (so much that even Guy wonders if there’s a painting of an ageing version of himself in an attic somewhere) though their attentions always come at a price. Ambivalently, Guy lets them believe, driven especially by the memory of growing up poor, until he finds he needs the lie to secure not only wealth, but love itself. Surveying the full spectrum of gay amorous life through the disco era and into the age of AIDS, Edmund White (who worked at Vogue for ten years) explores the power of physical beauty - to fascinate, to enslave, and to deceive - with sparkling wit and pathos.

Why we love it: With Our Young Man one of America’s greatest novelists delivers a sad yet funny, and nostalgic story of gay life in 80s New York,  that recalls elements of Oscar Wilde’s classic The Picture of Dorian Gray.

~ from The Team at Better Reading



Follow You Home

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Follow You Home by Mark Edwards

From the cover:  It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a final adventure before settling down.  After a perfect start, Daniel and Laura's travels end abruptly when they are thrown off a night train in the middle of nowhere.  To find their way back to civilisation, they must hike along the tracks through a forest ... a haunting journey that ends in unimaginable terror. 

Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow to never talk about what they saw that night. But as they try to fit back into their old lives, it becomes clear that their nightmare is just beginning.  This is a tale of secrets, lies and deadly consequences.

It is a rare feat indeed to maintain suspense throughout a novel but this one delivers in spades. Our sense of uneasiness grows along with our familiarity with the characters - Daniel and Laura, and their friends Jake, Erin and Rob, are very engaging. The storyline is original, and given that the train and forest scenario happens in Romania, what underpins the whole story is not something that immediately springs to mind.  I couldn't wait to jump into my car each day to continue listening to the 8 CDs! I thought the author did a great job with this book, a really absorbing read and very well narrated by James Langton... Until the ending.  My appreciation came crashing down, I couldn't believe the author chose this path on which to end the tale. It was such a letdown, so very, very disappointing.  And sigh, it leaves all the hallmarks of a sequel in the offing.  

Despite that, I still highly recommend Follow You Home for those who want a stomach-clenching suspense mystery for 98% of the book. We have this in print and audio CD format.

~ Deb. 

After You

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After You by Jojo Moyes

This book is the sequel to the bestseller "Me Before You" which is currently showing at the movies. If you don't want to know how it ends, skip this post and catch us again tomorrow!

When one story ends, another begins...

Lou Clark has lots of questions. Like how it is she’s ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places. Or why the flat she’s owned for a year still doesn’t feel like home. Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago. And will she ever get over the love of her life. What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change. Then, one night, it does. But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for – or just more questions? Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe. Open it and she risks everything. But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she’s going to keep it, she has to invite them in.



Louisa Clark has to somehow get on with her life. She has to find another job, she has to move on, move forward. One day there is a knock at the door and there is a young teenage girl standing there. Eventually Louisa discovers that Lily is the biological daughter of Will who never knew he had a daughter. Lily's mother married, has new children, and Lily is the rebellious teenager desperate to know about her father. Louisa feels somehow responsible for Lily who feels lost and in trouble. 

After an accident and while recovering, Louisa meets Sam - a paramedic, but moving on is so difficult. She eventually finds another job,  helps Lily connect with her grandparents and gets her life back on track.

I listened to this on audiobook, but we do have it in Playaway, large print and print formats. It was an OK story but nowhere near as captivating as Me Before You.

~ Janine



The Curious Incident Dog In The Night Time

Quicksand -

Are you interested in Maths and Science, and like precision? Or mystery novels? Or perhaps psychology? Or even enjoy some graphics? TheCurious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (written by Mark Haddon) is the right book for you. The book evokes the tale of a young boy, Christopher John Francis Boone, who attempts to solve the mystery of the murderer of his neighbour’s dog. However, the truth about his family is also unravelled, as he discovers a whole new hidden world behind him.This amazing tale portrays the development and decision making processes of a boy who is highly logical, precise and orderly. Christopher will introduce you to a whole knew perception of the world, using meticulous, analytical and descriptive language that is more honest and inarguable than any other story you will come across. You may also learn a few knew things from this bright mathematician, such as prime numbers past 200 or how to solve an A-level maths problem.The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time may be a difficult read at first, as Haddon writes the story from Christopher’s voice. The vocabulary is simplistic with repetition of several words. However, the story is still a definite “must-read,” this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to connect and empathise with a uniquely intelligent protagonist such as Christopher.
The book was also the winner of the 2004 Boeke Prize and the 2003 Whitbread Book of the Year. 
By Canis Nugroho, Work Experience Narre Warren Library

Road Series

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Road Series by Hugo Race

Road Series is both love story and elegy, a true and revealing tale. Renowned musician Hugo Race's evocations of Melbourne, Europe and the USA, Berlin and Eastern Europe, Italy, Brazil and Mali and Africa are poetic and searching , always incisive and exquisitely written. While the idea of being a global citizen is explored as a creative force for the artist, this is ultimately a book that is grounded in the rich possibilities of the everyday. Music and travel collide and coalesce, and the reader is given rare insights into what it means to devote one's life to the musical journey, to traverse the world in search of true spirit. While Road Series parallels Kerouac's journey of 'battered suitcases' and 'longer ways to go' it also wonderfully bears witness to his realisation that 'the road is life'.

Hugo Race is a musician who has clearly lived – and survived. In this meandering travel rock biog he takes the reader to various places which are seemingly fairly benign except for one thing – the timing. Melbourne during the heady post punk scene of 1981; Berlin before the wall and during its demise; former Yugoslavia on the very brink of atrocities and then Mali for an amazing concert in the desert, under an incredible night sky, when it was still (relatively) safe to be there – and then back again when it wasn’t. 

A great read and recommended for any music fan. 

~ Ali

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