I like to call my novels Aussie Period Dramas; but of course we do not have grand old castles in Australian history, absolutely not possible with only two hundred years of settlement behind us; but we do have some grand old homesteads. A period drama set in Australian would naturally include a historical home.
I had almost daily contact with indigenous Australians. This was very normal with the oldest indigenous settlement in Queensland situated a couple of miles outside the small town where I worked. In the late 1980s I had commenced research for the historical dramas I intended to write and encouraged the conversations with some of the older women who loved to talk about the old days. Some went as far back as the 1920’s-1930’s onwards when they were made to work on properties. Often they were sent a great distance, separated from their families at the age of 14, if they had a family at all – a lot were of the Stolen Generations, and mostly they were never paid; their employers informed them their money was being held for them in a trust account. The people of the settlement originated from 109 different areas, that means they originated from 109 different tribes, all with their own dialect and customs. They were mixed together and were not allowed to speak their own languages with their differing dialects. The older women were wonderful talkers and I listened with great interest. I enjoyed being connected to those brave, wonderful ladies, so pleased I had the opportunity.
I tucked the information away for the all Australian Outback stories I would write with the early history of our settlement woven into the storylines.
An Intense drama, the first of a series – Set on the great Jooloonga Station. The first chapters of early settlement were based on a true story. The lone survivor of a massacre was a young boy who sank into craziness and never forgave. The character in the novel is a little girl (dubbed the Crazy Orphan). I gave her an extraordinary life and I was determined she would forgive before the story finished – after three generations and 70 years – passing through two world wars and the great depression. She did finally forgive; the saga finishing with a multicultural love story like no other.
VALLEY OF THE EAGLE:
Not exactly a period drama but something similar. The families certainly go back many generations on huge cattle stations and the servants belong in a situation with a ‘Gone with the Wind’ flavor . A lively story of frontier adventure, a little raw, tough and violent with a love story to set your heart on fire
THE TAN PEOPLE – a journey into truth.
A multicultural story, joining the characters from the first two novels in the third, set on the great Jooloonga Station. Disturbing revelations from both families blaze a quicksilver trail through all their lives. A story of amazing love and tormented souls, spanning two continents, travelling to England and back, set on a stunning canvas in central Queensland where the magic of The Dreaming controls the heartbeat of an Ancient Land.
Homestead Photograph: The inspiration for the historical home in the series of novels was Jimbour House on the Darling Downs, built around 1874. I had a photograph of this Queensland Mansion and made the necessary enquiries for permission to use it on the cover of the third novel. I did eventually receive permission, but not in time for the publishing date. Jimbour House achieved fame when used as a major location in the successful TV mini-series ‘Return to Eden’.