Australian Colonial History – A Writer’s Roots


As the theme of this blog entry suggests, I am blogging today about Australian Colonial History. Having completed numerous history assignments in school on the subject, sang rebellious folk songs inspired by the wild boys of the bush (many moons ago), I completed a journey of discovery into the past.

Visiting the haunts near my home town, west of Sydney on the out skirts of Llandillo, Windsor, and along both the Hawksbury and Nepean Rivers, I headed south travelling to the beautiful Historical towns of Bowral, Berrima and Mossvale collecting ‘scope’ for my wild imagination before heading to the Illawarra district and had some fun in Old Mogo Town near Batemans  Bay. From there, I returned north to Forster and Taree to visit the Old Bar Cemetery, where some of my early settler ancestors were laid to rest. That was a very interesting part of my journey, since I was using an old 35mm roll of film to document my trip. The journey began as a search of Family History for me, and I’ve been on this crazy ride for many years. I took photos of the graves, tombstones and the area in general to get a better idea of where I came from.

The funniest part was getting the entire roll of film developed. The girls at the photo shop were rather rattled by the morbid photographs, but shared a laugh once I explained where I had been and what they were for. It was on this journey of self-discovery that I had the inspiration for a story. I was drawn in by the scandal, romance and heroism of the early colonial settlers. Having been through more than my fair share of hellish ordeals, I found myself connecting with the past in a very unusual way. I put myself in the shoes of my ancestors in that time period and discovered a family secret that had been a mystery for many years. It was not that hard to deduce the likelihood (from a geographical standpoint) that some of them had come across the path of a bushranger or two in their time. This revelation sparked my curiosity and thus, my obsession with the bush began. Several years later, I am still trying to piece together the puzzle and write a fictional story about the wild colonial age.

The recent Australian television show, ‘Wild Boys’ starring great Australian talent such as Daniel MacPherson and Bridie Carter, has rekindled my interest in this subject.

The inspiration behind the storyline for my piece of work, actually stems from old folk songs about Jack Donohoe (Donahue/Donohue/Diegan/Duggan/Dougan). He was one of Australia’s iconic boys from the bush, who was shipped out from Cork, on the ‘Ann & Amelia’ transport (convict ship), he was originally born in Ireland. He was only 18 years old when he began his wild career. He was likely seduced into the life when an Irish gang robbed a farmhouse he was working for under the terms of his convict sentence. He escaped custody from his gaoler and hooked up with a couple of other escapees Wamsely and Webber.

There after they committed a string of highway robberies, thereby becoming notorious Bushrangers. (This is the part I like.) It was said that mid 1830, he ended up at Nepean River where he apparently robbed two elderly tenants of Sir John Jamison near Regent Ville. (I lived around the area growing up as a child.) His story comes to an end after being shot, (some say in his head, others say the bullet pierced his proud young heart) and died in the Bringelly scrub near Campbelltown. There is a ton of fact mixed with fiction/folk lore about this young, handsome Irish lad. His origins, his travels across New South Wales intrigued me, since I too had been to many of the places this legendary outlaw had long ago graced. The male protagonist in my story was modelled on three famous Australian Bushrangers. Beginning with Irish born, John (Jack) Donohue, Canadian born, Johnny Gilbert and Harry Powers, known as the ‘Gentleman Bushranger.’

So now, I have a load of information to sort through in order to detangle the web inside my head so that I can bring the characters I’ve created to life. I’m sure the real fun lies ahead in finishing this story and sharing it with you.



Handy Tips: Need More Time for Writing?

Some simple ways in which I ‘steal time back’ for myself and my writing, is to do less, but often. Let me explain. With a busy schedule, you might have a half hour commute to work in the morning, half hour lunch break, and then another half hour commute back home. That’s a whole hour and a half! Take notes, a portable writing device or recorder with you and never miss a moment!

Now for time you can steal while at home. With the Economy the way it is today, if you’re employed, count yourself lucky. But when you’re pressed for time and can’t focus or find enough of it with the chores around the house – out source as much as you can. YES! Hire help.

Get someone else to mow the yard, rake leaves, cook and clean, even wash and iron for you. If you have kids, then it’s a great way to encourage them how to do things for themselves, but don’t forget to reward them with a little something for their trouble. Your own kids are far cheaper as ‘hired’ help, than an actual maid service, who typically charge a minimum hours a week. If that’s a little tight on the budget, then revert to enlisting the help of your kids.

If you’re a single writer, try something like this. Spend either one day a week doing all the chores, washing, ironing etc… Cook up a big enough meal and freeze meal portions for the rest of the week. Sure beats starving, or paying through the nose to have meals prepackaged and delivered (if you do that kind of thing to save time). You’ll also start to see more money in your pocket with all the savings, but I’ll leave all the saving tips for another entry. Devoting one day to the menial tasks to see you through the next week can free up at least another half hour each night that you would have used to prepare your evening meal. While your dinner heats in the microwave, fill your kitchen sink with a little water for your dishes. Less mess, more time. Ta-da!

So that’s about nine and a half hours a week you have ‘stolen’ for your writing! That does not include any spare time on the weekend that you can use. Not bad. You’ll have that amazing story written in no time.






Opening the Taboo Vault: Victoria’s Secret

Approaching today’s blog with an incredibly open mind. I hope you can too. Recently I’ve been crossing over with my writing into the unknown, exploring the taboo. Such a task has been a cage rattling experience, but one I find to be a fun journey. Being able to write about something that is completely wild and scandalous, gave me a thrill. It can sometimes do my head in, but I try to focus on physical/human emotion, and draw positive energy from those in the know. Recently, I drafted a story composed of taboo elements. It wasn’t easy to write, (frankly the story is doing my head in) but I can finally see how all the twists and turns will pan out. I am talking about, Victoria’s Secret.

Those who have read the drafted chapters might find it a little shocking. My aim here with this story, was to get inside the mindset of people (I am no judge) who enjoy reading about the taboo. In this case, Victoria’s Secret is just that.

The story revolves around incestuous lust, and where that desire can lead if nurtured. The end result is a conscientious battle for the lead character, Randy.  I thought it would be fun to spice up the typical type of tale with a few wicked twists and turns. Enter, Dr. Jane McNally. A psychologist with a twisted work ethic, who pushes her patient to the brink of insanity, as he fights his conscience. Who is the true mastermind behind the events that unfold? That remains to be seen, and this tale wouldn’t be called Victoria’s Secret for nothing…

I am now working on the crossover, that part between what is sociably right or wrong. The same place where lovers can temporarily escape reality and explore the unknown together. Also referred to as sex (preferably lots and lots of it). Depending on where such a story can be published, I might have to do a slight re-write in order to make the story less scandalous and sociably more acceptable to the wider market. There is never any rest for the wicked. Until tomorrow.


Writer’s Block: Fact or Fiction?

Taking a new approach to the blogging thing. This is not my speciality, and I hate journals. Funny enough, (for me anyway) things that I hate, often have a way of becoming my strengths. So, I hope I don’t disappoint.

A little while ago, the issue of ‘writer’s block’ came up in a discussion group I am in for writers. The following are my thoughts on the matter, and are not scientifically endorsed or approved by me. They are just my thoughts. I simply thought they might be helpful.

Writer’s block? Can’t find your way to tie up that story? Well, you’re not alone. There are many writers out there that will agree with that. You will probably be upset when I say, that there is no such thing. But with that bold statement out there, there does come a time (in every story’s life) that the author hits a brick wall. That is just your imagination telling you to take a break. Yes, I can’t believe I said that, but it’s true.

Our imagination, (if you’re a fiction writer) can get over loaded, and have a bit of a mental meltdown. Just take a break. Go for a jog or do any other form or exercise to get the blood flowing back to your brain. Each writer’s experience with the condition is unique. You simply need to understand yourself well enough to know the tell-tale signs.

Some of mine include: Staring at the flickering cursor with a blank expression on my face, (I think that is a common one among everyone). Writing any kind of crap that comes to mind – then trying to decipher it later, only to scrap it. Too many thoughts jumping around in my head at the same time, and can’t figure out where to start.

Well this is how I deal with the above. First, if the cursor is bothering you that much – shut the laptop (computer) down and walk away. Get some fresh air. I take a walk. I often find, it’s not long before my thoughts start to come together, and I have an overwhelming compulsion to get back to the laptop. Second, take notes. Yes sounds strange, but brainstorming or talking the theme/setting/plot/characters  over with a fellow literary friend helps get the creative juices flowing again. Third, goes hand in hand with the second.

To summarise if writer’s block is fact or fiction, I think it depends on the writer. If you’re born to be a writer, and all you can think about is telling that amazing story, then it’s all fiction. However, if you find that cursor flickering is too much to bear, get up off your bum. You’re not a writer today. Go and find your inspiration, and after a day if you are still stuck, even after following the above suggestions…I hate to tell you, but you are not meant to be a writer.