Romancing the Bunya

A king parrot is standing on my battered old Simpson and Day bird book. Not on the parrot page, either. He looks as if he’s researching the rufous fantails we’ve been watching in the forest.

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King parrot

“I remember the day Mum put the bunya pine down her bra,” says my brother Rick. He and my other brother Mike and I are in the Bunyas Mountains together, on a nostalgic visit, sitting on the verandah of a small but comfortable cottage and reminiscing. King parrots and crimson rosellas cluster round us, pecking at bird seed.

I can’t imagine putting anything as prickly as a bunya pine down my bra.

We’re discussing a trip to the Bunyas we went on years ago, camping with our parents. Dad had pitched the old canvas tent on what was then known as the Lucerne Patch, a camping field running down to the edge of the rainforest. That evening there was a sudden storm, with heavy rain threatening to swamp the tent. Mum and we three kids held on to the tent poles while Dad frantically dug a trench along the uphill side to divert the flood.

Dad’s trench saved us from a night spent in wet bedding, and next day the sun was out. We walked along the forest tracks, under majestic pines and enormous fig trees laden with ferns and orchids.

Along the way, our mother spotted a baby bunya pine. The ground was soft after the rainstorm, and so in spite of signs that said not to interfere with vegetation or wildlife in a National Park she carefully dug it out. Because she didn’t want to be caught doing the wrong thing, so the family story goes, she hid it in her bra.

The iconic bunya pines, Araucaria bidwilli, endemic to the Blackall Range and Bunya Mountains National Park, command respect. Straight and rough-barked, bunya pines can grow close to fifty metres tall and a metre in diameter.

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Bunya pines

For thousands of years, great bunya festivals were held here. This was a meeting place for local Aboriginal groups and those from further away, travelling here every three years for ritual and ceremony, resolving of disputes, feasting, dance, song, trading, socialising and above all harvesting the bunya nuts.

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Bunya leaves, cones and fruit

 

Development of surrounding lands by white farmers, and the relocation of Indigenous people to reserves, tragically put a stop to the bunya festivals by 1902.

According to Tom Petrie, his father Andrew Petrie “discovered” the bunya pine and “gave some specimens to a Mr. Bidwill, who forwarded them to the old country, and hence the tree was named after him, not after the true discoverer.”[1]

These trees had been known and celebrated in this place for centuries before the Petries came along.

In the mid-1900s, Tom Petrie himself as a boy was the first free (i.e. not an escaped convict) white person to attend a bunya festival. As an old man, he described it in detail to his daughter, who wrote out his memoirs. Many of the bunya pines have what seem to be notches in them and some believe that they were cut to help the young men who, with the aid of a loop of strong vine around the tree, would climb up to get the big cones that hold the nuts; but according to Tom Petrie they would never cut a bunya because it would hurt the tree. They would climb using just the vine, aided by the roughness of the bark. It would take great skill and courage to climb so high that way.

By the 1850s, an avenue of bunya pines had been planted in the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, where they’re still standing today, along the path above the river.

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Avenue of bunya pines in the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens  Image: Monuments Australia

My brothers and I have been walking those same soft forest tracks again today, and we worked out which leaves belong to the bunya pines, and which to the equally mighty hoop pines, Araucaria cunninghamii, that grow here too. They were first collected by Alan Cunningham, botanist and explorer, in the 1820s.

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Hoop pine

It’s easy to tell the trees apart, if you crane your neck upwards. The mature bunyas have a dome-shaped top, while the hoops have a pointed top. The leaves are different too. Hoop pine leaves are smooth and closely woven, and bunya leaves are twisted and prickly. Maybe Mum wrapped that little bunya tree in a hanky.

“She put the tree in a pot, and it grew,” says Rick. “For years we used it as a Christmas tree.”

“That’s right – I’d forgotten the Christmas tree! Didn’t she eventually plant it behind the house at Ashgrove, down by the creek?”

“Yes, she did. I wonder if it’s still there.”

This year, the forest is in drought, like most of Queensland. Dry leaves are lying thick on the ground. Many trees are suffering, and some of the tracks are closed. As we sit on the cottage verandah that evening, we hear a menacing cracking sound in the distance, then a deep, booming thump. The sound of a forest giant falling.

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Bunya leaves

“When we get back to Brisbane, let’s go and look for Mum’s bunya pine,” said Mike.

That’s what we do. We drive out to the old house in Joffre Street, Ashgrove, and there it is, towering over the houses, down near the creek.

Only it doesn’t have a dome shape. It has a point. After all these years of family legend, is it actually a bunya pine at all? It’s not a full-grown tree yet – too young to have a dome, perhaps.

Maybe it’s a hoop pine. Much less prickly to put in a bra. We knock on the door to ask if we can go out in the back yard and check the leaves, but there’s no one home.

Hoop pines are beautiful too, with their rough bark and hoop-like stripes. They’re everywhere in Brisbane, standing like sentinels on hilltops, in parks and suburban gardens and motorway plantings.

The bunya pine, though, is the iconic one; and its home forest, now suffering from drought, is an ancient and spiritual place. This year, Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral burned down and the world mourned. The Cathedral will be rebuilt – just as it was. It won’t be so easy to rebuild the old, old forests of the Bunya Mountains.

[1] “Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland”, Constance Campbell Petrie. First published 1904. This edition 2014: Watson Ferguson and Company, Brisbane. Page 9

German Station

Daily reports of the sick from the emigrant Ship Minerva

January 24th1838

Mrs Szillmann, 21, Native of Germany, fell ill with typhus on 13 January. In extreme danger.

February 9th1838

Blew a hurricane all night accompanied with torrents of rain & occasional showers of hail – wind still high, temperature of the atmosphere very low. The rain penetrated all the tents except those which were lined.

Last night was most unfavourable to those poor women in the Lazaretto, some of whom had their beds wet thro’. They are however still slowly gaining strength. Mrs Szillmann, who is very weak, complains today of a cough.

Just inside Sydney Harbour, behind North Head, is Quarantine Cove. I went there as a child in my father’s cousin’s boat. “We’re not allowed ashore,” said cousin Cedric. “It’s a quarantine station.”

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Quarantine Cove, Sydney Harbour

None of us knew then that Cedric’s and my Dad’s great-grandparents (my great-great-grandparents) had spent two months at Quarantine Cove, one hundred and twenty years earlier: Clara Louise and Johann Leopold Zillman.

The Australian government has always taken quarantine seriously, even in the early years. Ships with sick crew or passengers – cholera, smallpox, typhus or typhoid fever – were required to “perform quarantine” until health authorities declared them no longer a threat.

Spring Cove, inside North Head, was first selected to isolate diseased convicts, and in 1837 the whole of North Head was marked off as a quarantine area. It stayed that way until 1986.

It was called Quarantine Cove, and ships carrying disease would be moored there, yellow warning flags flying. Tents and crude buildings were erected to provide a hospital and housing.

Until the late 1850s, so-called Fever Ships were a horror of the transportation of convicts and immigrants to Australia. One of the most common and feared fevers was typhus. Typhus is spread by lice, and the crowded, cramped conditions below decks on long voyages provided ideal conditions.

On 23 January 1838, the immigrant ship Minerva arrived at The Heads, after a non-stop, nineteen-week voyage from Scotland. It was a fever ship. The first typhus victim had died just two weeks into the voyage, and a total of twenty-eight passengers, out of two hundred and five, died either on the voyage or after arrival. The Minerva was placed into quarantine.

It was a tragic situation. Children were orphaned. The ship’s doctor and all of his family caught the fever, he alone recovering.

Clara and Johann were members of a group of German nationals on their way to start a Protestant Christian mission to the Aborigines of Moreton Bay. It would be the first free European settlement in what would become Queensland.

The missionaries had been selected for their religious devotion and their useful trades: farmers, bricklayers, gardeners, a cabinetmaker. Johann, twenty-five years old, was a blacksmith, and his twenty-one-year-old wife Clara was listed as a schoolmistress. Clara and Johann had been among six couples married just two days before leaving Berlin to make the voyage to Australia.

Clara survived the typhus. On 7 April the last of the survivors were released from Spring Cove, and in June she and her husband travelled north to begin work at the mission in Brisbane. By then she was pregnant with the first of her eleven children.

The government granted the mission six hundred and forty acres of land in what is now Nundah, about eight kilometres from the Convict Station on the Brisbane River.  Known as German Station, the mission was well situated for the missionaries’ objectives of teaching and converting the local Turrbal people. The area was rich in bush produce and was at a crossroads for travelling Indigenous groups.

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German Station Park, Nundah, on part of the old German Station, next to Nundah Historical Cemetery

Running through it was a creek lined with majestic eucalypts and tea-trees and teeming with fish. The missionaries named it Kedron Brook. Some of those huge gum trees and paperbarks are still standing. Turrbal people camped here in large numbers, as well as on the present site of Nundah Cemetery.

The missionaries were devout and hard-working: clearing the scrub, building slab houses, a church and school on what they called Zion Hill, a pine-covered rise next to the present-day Toombul Shopping Centre. They established gardens and orchards and a dairy.

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Sketch of the Zion Hill settlement, gardens, stock and people by C.F. Gerler, a missionary. John Oxley Library

The plan was to learn the local language and customs and teach reading, writing and the Bible, as well as practical skills. In return the Aboriginal people would help with building and gardening.

The local people were open to the benefits of what the missionaries were offering but clashes soon developed over the produce of the gardens, established as they were on traditional lands. By 1840, shots were being fired and there were raids on the mission.

According to his son’s memoirs, Johann Zillman and other irate missionaries would sit up all night guarding the sweet potato fields. Johann even wrote to his father-in-law in Germany asking him to send him a gun. Clara’s father sent him a Bible instead, with the inscription, “My son, I cannot send you a gun, but instead I am sending you a Sword of the Spirit wherewith you shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked.”

It became obvious that the local Aboriginal people were not interested in Christianity, and financial support for the mission dried up. By 1850 its role was abandoned. When the convict era ended, land became available for sale at German Station. Johann bought some, and leased further blocks for cattle raising. Zillmere and Zillman Waterholes are named after the family.

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Zillman Waterholes, Zillmere

In the mission years my great-great-grandmother Clara would have suffered the nervous tensions of living in the midst of a people utterly foreign to her and potentially threatening. Her many children grew up playing with the local children, falling in the creek, getting lost in the bush and no doubt being bitten, stung and scratched by all manner of things frightening to a woman from Berlin, no matter how devout she was.

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Sketch of Clara Zillman

Clara Zillman died at the age of sixty and is buried along with Johann Leopold in leafy Nundah Cemetery. Pictures that survive from the time don’t do justice to the young, adventurous pair who married in Berlin, almost died on the long voyage to Australia, took on a brave enterprise, and lived on to become part of a new state.

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Grave of Clara Louise and Johann Leopold Zillman, Nundah Cemetery

Several years ago, my daughter Lizzie asked me to drive to Sydney with her. A friend was getting married.

“It’s at a hotel in Manly”, she said. “It’s called Q Station”.

I looked up Google Earth and found North Head, Quarantine Cove, and Q Station, a hotel occupying century-old heritage listed Quarantine Station buildings – no longer the tents and huts of Minerva’s time.

A month later we checked into Q Station. There were harbour views from the verandahs, with the tall buildings of the city centre in the distance. We walked down to the sweet little beach, with penguin footprints in the sand.

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Footprints of little penguins, Quarantine Cove

Lizzie swam round the old wharf, braving Sydney Harbour sharks and cutting herself on oyster shells.

On the rock face lining the road leading up from the wharf, the names and crests of ships that were quarantined here are carved into the soft sandstone. Over a thousand such inscriptions have been discovered. Perhaps they include the Minerva, and the names of my sick, frightened, determined ancestors who lived here for a time, over one hundred and eighty years ago.

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Inscriptions at Quarantine Cove

 

This information comes from:

  • “Minerva in Quarantine”, George and Shelagh Champion, historical articles from the History of Manly, manly.nsw.gov.au
  • “Aboriginal Campsites of Greater Brisbane – An Historical Guide”, Dr Ray Kerklove
  • “150 Years 1838 – 1988, Nundah Families”, Nundah Historic Cemetery Preservation Assoc. Inc.
  • Writings of J.H.L. Zillman

History on the Map

There was a young maid from Dungowrin

Who fondly recalled her deflowerin’.

“Gee it was beaut, in the back of Bob’s ute!”

But her sister preferred it while showerin’.

A few years ago, The West Australian ran a competition for limericks using local place names. This was Con’s favourite, and the competition winner.

Western Australia has lots of place names that end in “in” and “up”: Balingup, Dwellingup; Mukinbudin, Burracoppin. I think Dungowrin was a made-up one, though. Poetic license.

Queensland has wonderful Indigenous place names, too: Pimpimbudgie, Eubenangee, Dirranbandi, Bli Bli. The only place names unique to Australia are Indigenous names. They are both beautiful and inspirational.

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Eubenangee Swamp, north of Innisfail

Perhaps Henry Lawson’s poetic use of language was influenced by a childhood spent near Wattamondara and the Weddin Mountains. Dorothea McKellar was inspired by the country around Gunnedah, Narrabri and Coonabarabran when, homesick in England, she wrote the iconic poem, “My Country”.

English names like Cambridge and Oxford have literal roots, both being river crossing places. Aboriginal place names do too, of course. Sometimes their meaning has been lost, at least to people with non-Indigenous backgrounds like me, and they are just beautiful-sounding words; but I learned as a child on the Sunshine Coast that Nambour referred to the red-flowering bottlebrush that grows along local creeks, and Maroochydore means place of black swans.

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Bottlebrush Callistemon

As Europeans spread across the country, ancient names from Indigenous mythology were sometimes replaced with names from European mythologies, like Lethe Brook, south of Proserpine, where Con and I were held up by floodwaters in 1974.  The creek was named after a river in Hades, the town after Persephone, abducted by Hades and taken to live in the Underworld.

Many Queensland sheep stations and towns were given English, Scottish or Irish names: Stonehenge, Hyde Park, Lochiel, Doncaster. Killarney, Connemara. These names seem totally inappropriate when you look at the countryside. Like the town of Richmond, west of Townsville.

Wherever the British colonized, they established places called Richmond: New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica; at least six places in the United States, and six in Australia. Of all of them, Richmond in Queensland is perhaps least like the town of Richmond in England, the treasured ancient town on the Thames, home of Plantagenet kings, with a Green that once held jousting competitions. Soft green grass, a sprawling park with deer and ancient oak trees. An oak can be measured by how many people it takes to reach around its trunk: one hundred years per person.

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Measuring an oak tree in Richmond Park, U.K.

England’s Richmond is about as far as the imagination can stretch from the dinosaur bones, galahs and donga motels of Queensland’s Richmond. But our Richmond has sprawling plains and vast, starry skies. Its population has to be tough, to cope with droughts, isolation, and appalling floods.

 

 

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Plains west of Richmond, Qld

 

The British themselves had a history of invasion. They had been conquered by the Romans, and then Angles, Saxons and Jutes from northern Europe. Next, the Vikings. In 1066, the invading Normans under William the Conqueror defeated the Saxon/English King Harold. The Normans took over the country, stripped land from the locals and distributed it to their own people, and imposed their own language, social systems and government.

The English in turn invaded Ireland, allotting estates to their own people, renaming the landscape and imposing their religion. In battle after bloody battle, they also forced their government on the Scots.

I wonder if all this bloody history entered the thoughts of the English, Irish and Scots who invaded Aboriginal lands, took the country for their flocks, killed Indigenous people almost at will, and put their names on the landscape of Australia. They must surely have been aware of the irony.

Occupation of the land by Europeans was often accompanied by violence. The Aboriginal inhabitants suffered by far the greatest losses, and across Australia there are place names indicating this: Skeleton Creek, Murdering Gully, Battle Mountain, and The Leap, just north of Mackay, where it is said an Aboriginal woman, chased by the Native Mounted Police, jumped to her death with her child in her arms.

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The Leap, Mackay

You can see our history written on the map, in place names; but some of those names need changing, and gradually that’s happening.

Two mountains near Rockhampton have been renamed. Mount Wheeler, probably named after the notorious, murderous Lieutenant Wheeler who ran the Native Police when white people were moving into this area, has been officially renamed Gai-i (pronounced guy-ee), its name in the local Darumbal language. And Mount Jim Crow, with a name loaded with over a century of racist connotations here and overseas, is now officially known as Baga.

South of Home Hill, Yellow Gin Creek, according to the Northern Land Council’s website, runs through a region of creeks, wetlands and coastline, traditionally an important food-gathering area for the local Juru people. Its road sign has always always a reminder to me of bad days not so very long ago when talking about Indigenous Australians in racist terms was a social norm.

Now, that place name has been reclaimed and adapted by the Juru people. When a new bridge over the creek was completed, it was given a new sign. Youngoorah, which means ‘women” in the local language. Beautiful.

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Image: from the Northern Land Council website

Our history is written in the place names on the map, for those who want to see it.

It is a history both good and bad.

It goes back a lot further than two hundred years.

And there could be lots of limericks from Queensland place names, even if they don’t end in “in” or “up”.

There once was a young man from Bli Bli…

Townsville

During our first road trip north as a family, in December 1970, Con and I and baby Matt stopped on the Strand, Townsville, for a break. On the Strand an artificial waterfall comes tumbling down a cliff into landscaped gardens at the bottom, and I sat there with the baby enjoying the cool spray.

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“The Waterfall on the Strand, Townsville” c.1970-2000 Murray Views Collection, Centre for the Government of Queensland.

Con was looking across the road at the Tobruk Memorial Baths.

“Did you know,” he said, “in 1956, Australia’s Olympic swimmers trained in that pool? Lorraine Crapp, Dawn Fraser, Murray Rose – they were all here!”

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Tobruk Memorial Baths, Townsville c.1952. Qld State Archives

North Queenslanders were pleased to have the country’s best swimmers here in Townsville through the winter before the Melbourne Olympics. Even before the Olympics began, they were breaking records. Con remembers it well.

Lorraine Crapp broke four world records in one race here, in August 1956. In breaking the five-minute barrier for the four hundred metres freestyle,she broke three other world records – 200 metres, 220 yards and 440 yards. It made headlines around the world.And Dawn Fraser set new world records in the one hundred metres.

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Lorraine Crapp Thurlow

“Exciting times for us North Queenslanders, and for Australian swimming!”

The Australian team went on to win gold in every freestyle event at the Melbourne Olympics. Australia’s first real taste of Olympic glory.

 

In 1976, Con and I and our two kids moved to Townsville, for a year, so he could study at the College of Advanced Education. It was hot and wet, and rain water pooled in the backyard of our rented house. Thousands of tadpoles hatched in the puddles. When the rain stopped, the puddles dried up and the tadpoles rotted in the sun, stinking, just outside the back door.

After the rainy season the city returned to its usual dry, dusty condition. In winter, the mornings were cold. We were in the tropics, but not the lush, green tropics of Mackay or Cairns. Townsville is backed by magnificent ranges, but apart from the pink granite bulk of Castle Hill and its surrounds it is flat. It was a city of cyclists in those days. Now, it’s a much bigger and busier place.

The Townsville CAE was near James Cook University. Those were interesting times at James Cook. It was a time of energy and change. All over the world, there was a developing push for the rights of Indigenous peoples, and academics at James Cook were writing and teaching about the history and issues of race relations in the North. Among them Henry Reynolds and Noel Loos, and those dynamic men helped change the face of race relations in Australia.

JCU Associate Professor Noel Loos with some of his publications from the NQ Collection, JCU Library Special Collections.
Noel Loos, James Cook University, 2017, with some of his publications

Eddie Koiki Mabo, a leading figure in the Townsville Torres Strait and Indigenous community, was working as a groundsman at James Cook. Over lunch, in 1974, Eddie Mabo shared stories of his home island with Reynolds and Loos, and it was during these sessions that he discovered that what he had always considered his family’s land belonged, in fact, to the government.

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Eddie Koiki Mabo http://www.workingwithindigenousaustralians.info – torres strait

Sixteen years later, Eddie Mabo’s land claim on his ancestral home, the Island of Mer in Torres Strait, resulted in the High Court decision overturning the legal doctrine of terra nullius, or “this land belongs to no one”, under which Captain Cook claimed Australia for Britain. A history-making event.

The Mabo claim thus began at James Cook, around the time we were in Townsville. At the end of 1976, Con was awarded a Graduate Diploma in Aboriginal Education, and I had a baby. I was unaware of history on the way to being made nearby.

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Off to Townsville CAE for Con to receive his Diploma, November 1976

While we were living in Townsville, we often came down to the Strand rock pool, or further north to Rowes Bay or Pallarenda Beach, to swim with the kids and hold beach birthday parties. I remember dry grass and coconut palms along the waterfront.

In 2007, Con and I were back in Townsville yet again, staying in what locals call the Sugar Shaker, the landmark hotel tower in the centre of town. The CBD had changed. What been David Jones Department Store, North Queensland’s most luxurious shopping place, was now the home of a new north Queensland icon – Cowboys Rugby League Club. This is a passionate rugby league town.

South Queensland was in drought at that time, and Brisbane was on Level 5 water restrictions; but here in the Townsville Mall, a council worker was hosing the pavement. In the suburbs, sprinklers watered lawns and footpaths. This is no longer a dusty, brown city.

One morning I went for a walk north from the city centre, along the Strand. The coconut palms were still there, lining the beach, but now there was greenery everywhere, and a water park with a bucket tipping water on to the screaming children below.

Townsville, with an assured supply of water from the Ross River Dam and the rainforested Paluma Range to the north, had decided to make itself beautiful, turning its public spaces into the lush, green environment that visitors expect of the tropics.

Early this year, though, record-breaking rains forced Ross River Dam to open its floodgates; and suburbs that didn’t exist when we lived there in 1976 were flooded for weeks.

Townsville is unlike anywhere else in the country, except perhaps Darwin. Like Darwin it is a tropical city with a port of strategic importance. Like Darwin, it was bombed during the War, and like Darwin it has suffered catastrophic damage from cyclones.

Townsville is a Defence Forces centre, a place of research into all things tropical, a tourist hot spot, and also a place of high unemployment and crime. It was interesting in the 1970s, and for all its stresses and strains, it still is.

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Townsville today http://www.queensland.com

Reading Queensland

I like reading books about places. It adds extra layers of enjoyment to my travels, in Queensland and beyond. They can be learned and literary books, or lighter romances and mysteries; but sharing in the experiences of others, especially when they’re good observers, helps me to get under the surface of a place.

These are just a few of my favourite books about Queensland.

Please add other titles in the comments section. I’m always looking for more.

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Fiction

  • “The Commandant”, Jessica Anderson. Fine, literary, perceptive novel of convict imagesBrisbane under Captain Logan. Brutality and death in the penal colony as observed by the Logan womenfolk. 

 

  • Affection”, Ian Townsend. 2010. Historical novel set in Townsville in 1900 when the affectioncity was under threat of the plague. Doctors enforce unpopular measures to prevent it. (Dilemma of scientists: if they succeed in preventing a threatened disaster, people will say it wasn’t a danger in the first place.)

 

 

  • “Carpentaria”, Alexis Wright. A magnificent literary saga of the Gulf of Carpentaria, written by an Indigenous Australian with a unique and fullsizeoutput_3e0caccomplished voice and an authentic image of the land, its people and its mythology. In the tradition of Xavier Herbert.

 

 

  • “The Birdwatcher”, William McInnes. A sweet, wise, grown-up love story set in Far 9780733632976North Queensland. Some ‘60s nostalgia, poetry, and lots of birds.

 

 

 

  • “My Island Homicide”, Catherine Titasey. Set on Thursday Island, this is a likeableimages romance/detective novel. Authentic language and background in a fascinating part of Queensland.

 

 

  • “Ryders Ridge”, Charlotte Nash. An enjoyable rural romance set inryders north-west Queensland. Red dirt, big hats, doctors.

 

 

 

  • “The Grazier’s Wife”, Barbara Hannay. 2017. A multi-generation rural romance setthe-grazier-s-wife on the Atherton Tableland. Cattle, rainforest, Singapore, antiques, a secret will.

 

 

  • “Boy Swallows Universe”, Trent Dalton. 2018. Enjoyable, scary, boy swallowsuplifting, suspenseful story of growing up in a crime-affected family in Brisbane. Darra and Bracken Ridge, Boggo Road Gaol and City Hall. Violence and love.

 

 

  • “Border Watch”, Helene Young. 2011. A FNQ romantic thriller Northern-Heat1written by an ex- airline captain and Border Patrol pilot. One of several novels by this author set in Queensland including “Safe Harbour”, 2014, and “Northern Heat”, 2015, which is set in Cooktown.

 

 

Non-fiction

  • “Lonely Planet – Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef”, and “Lonely Planet – Australia”. The first covers the tourist areas and the coast; the second covers the inland areas of the state. Lots of interesting local information.

 

  • “A History of Queensland”, Raymond Evans. 2007. Interesting scholarly in-depth account by a well-known historian ofimages Qld life and development from earliest human habitation to the 2000s. 

 

 

  • “Love in the Age of Drought”, Fiona Higgins. 2009. The memoir of a loveSydney woman who marries a farmer from Jandowae, on the Northern Darling Downs. Love, drought, life in a small town, the black soil plains west of the Bunya Mountains. I lived here as a teenager.

 

 

  • “Brisbane”, Matthew Condon. 2010. Affectionate, memoir-style look at Brisbane, its history, condon brisbanearts, way of life and unique qualities as a lively sub-tropical city, by a journalist who knows the city well: its good and its bad. (Part of the “Secret Life of Your City” series about State Capitals.)

 

 

  • “Birdsville”, Evan McHugh. 2009. Dust storms, bogs, sand dunes, race meetings, rescues,images locusts, building a golf course in the desert: a Sydney freelance writer and his graphic designer wife spend twelve months in Birdsville.

 

 

  • “Conspiracy of Silence: Queensland’s frontier killing times”, Timothy Bottoms. 2013. imagesHarrowing account of the acts of violence that accompanied pastoralists’/investors’ seizure of Queensland pastoral land from Aboriginal inhabitants.

 

 

  • Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland”, Constance Campbell Petrie. tom petrieRe-published 2014. This important 1904 book details life in Brisbane and South-east Qld from 1837, when little Tom Petrie arrived at the convict settlement of Moreton Bay with his family. Local Aboriginal people, their foods, customs and language, as well as convict life and early white exploration.

 

  • “Cairns: City of the South Pacific. A history 1770-1995”, Timothy Bottoms. cairns-city-of-the-south-pacific-history-productInteresting, ambitious, detailed work.

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