BIOGRAPHIES
&
MEMOIRS

Welcome to our Biographies & Memoirs collection, where you'll find spectacular titles by Australian authors ready to share amazing true life experiences...

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After Michelle Tom's house was damaged by a deadly magnitude 6.3 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2011, she and her young family suffered through another 10,000 aftershocks before finally relocating to the stability of Melbourne, Australia.

 

But soon after arriving, Michelle received the news that her estranged sister was dying. Determined to reconnect before her sister died, Michelle flew home to visit, and memories of childhood flooded back.

A powerful, poetic and moving memoir of family, violence and estrangement, from a stunning new literary voice.

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On his long path to success – from aspiring professional footballer to actor, director and producer – for every opportunity Aaron Fa’Aoso had, there were setbacks and heartache.

 

He was six when his father and grandfather both died. His fiercely proud mother and even fiercer grandmother dug deep to raise Aaron and his brothers. Belief in himself as a warrior – literally and metaphorically – made him into a fighter, for better and for worse.A month into Aaron’s second marriage, and just as his acting career was flourishing, his new wife took her own life. In the dark years that followed, Aaron eventually found strength and meaning in his family and in his beloved Torres Strait community.

 

In So Far, So Good, he talks frankly about love, pain, making mistakes and finding happiness again, as well as the impacts of racism and the challenges of remote communities.

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I was a scared, skinny, desperate kid.

 

My skin felt like ants were crawling on it and my teeth hurt from being clenched together. My stomach was always doing cart-wheels, I felt sick all day, every day. I couldn’t concentrate on much because I expect things to go horribly wrong and I was right to think they would because they always did.
 
I felt it all, every flawed thought, every mischievous act, every consequence my parents dodge, and I carried. While other kids grew up in a garden of love, I wilted in a weeded field from humiliation. Lessons are easy to learn in catastrophe and chaos.

 

To become a decent person, all I needed to do was the complete opposite of everything they did.

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Author Maribel Steel, who is legally blind, reveals how she changed a life-challenge into a lifestyle she can manage and enjoy, and shows how people who are vision-impaired can retain their independence in daily living activities.

 

The sighted reader learns how to support and encourage friends and family with vision loss, and how to avoid awkward interactions and common misconceptions about blindness.

 

Losing sight is a life-challenge most people are not prepared to face.

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From the bestselling author of Alice to Prague comes Tanya Heaslip's extraordinary story of growing up with her sister and brothers in the late 1960s and early 70s on an outback cattle property just north of Alice Springs.

An Alice Girl is Tanya Heaslip's extraordinary story of growing up in the late 1960s and early 70s on a vast and isolated outback cattle property just north of Alice Springs.
 
Tanya's parents, Janice and Grant 'the Boss', were pioneers. They developed the cattle station where water was scarce, where all power was dependent on generators and where a trip to town for supplies usually meant a full day's journey. Grant was determined to teach his children how to survive in this severe and isolated environment and his lessons were often harsh.

Tanya and her siblings led a childhood unimaginable to many Australians. Whether working the mobs of cattle with the stockmen, playing cattle-duffing on horseback or singing and doing lessons at their School of the Air desks, the children were always aware of the demands of the land.

 

In a childhood that many would consider very tough, Tanya tells of this precious time with raw honesty, humour, love and kindness. This is the story of an Alice girl.

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From the happiness and freedom of her bush childhood, Tanya Heaslip is sent to a boarding school sixteen hundred kilometres away from everything and everyone she loves.

In 1975, twelve-year-old Tanya Heaslip leaves her isolated home in outback Australia and is sent sixteen hundred kilometres south to a girls' boarding school for an education the bush can't provide.

The freedom of her young life gives way to an unfriendly world of stone and concrete, high walls, small skies, uniforms, harsh words and endless rules that make no sense.

In common with many children of the outback, Tanya struggles to adjust to boarding school. Yet, over time, her fellow boarders become her new family and Tanya survives both by writing, and by telling her stories of family, race meetings, gymkhanas, campdrafts and stock camps to her loyal friends.

Tanya's pain of losing family and the trauma of dislocation are ultimately transformed into five life-changing years.

 

She emerges stronger and more resilient, now determined to carve out her own life.
 

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In 1994, with a battered copy of Let's Go Europe stuffed in her backpack, Tanya Heaslip left her safe life as a lawyer in outback Australia and travelled to the post-communist Czech Republic.

Dismissing concerns from family and friends that her safety and career were at risk, she arrived with no teaching experience whatsoever, to work at a high school in a town she'd never heard of, where the winters are frigid and plunge to sub-zero temperatures.

During her childhood on an isolated cattle station in Central Australia, Tanya had always dreamed of adventure and romance in Europe but the Czech Republic was not the stuff of her dreams. On arrival, however, she falls headlong into misadventures that change her life forever.

This land of castles, history and culture opened up to her and she to it. In love with Prague and her people, particularly with the charismatic Karel, who takes her into his home, his family and as far as he can into his heart, Tanya learns about lives very different to hers.

Alice to Prague is a bittersweet story of a search for identity, belonging and love, set in a time, a place and with a man that fill Tanya's life with contradictions.
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As Jake O’Donnell puts it, “If men really are from Mars, then it’s no surprise that it is a cold, barren wasteland devoid of life”.

 

But, while modern men still don’t know who let the dogs out, or whether Shaggy did in fact do all those things, they have at least tried their best (or at the very least been present) in a century that has fought for equal rights while also giving them equal lefts – directly to the chin.
 
Following the journey of the modern man through the seminal ‘first time’ moments of his life, Walk Like a Man(iac) provides an up-close and personal look at the embarrassing, ridiculous, mistake-ridden and underwhelming journey that all boys have to take on their way to becoming a man in the 21st century. As self-deprecating as it is insightful, Walk Like a Man(iac) not only examines the universal experiences that define the modern man, but also explores a hilariously detailed personal account of the journey.
 
After all, what better way to really examine the psyche of 21st century men than through the eyes of someone who encapsulates everything it means to be one, in all its (limited) glory and shame.

 

'Walk Like a Man(iac): The Story of Everyone Who Became a Man in the 21st Century' reached #1 on Amazons Best Sellers list for Adult Humour within the first month.

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 From Jenny's childhood on a farm to boarding school in Sydney, to becoming a 'reluctant' nurse in Melbourne; meeting five close friends, then venturing forth into the unkown as innocent nurses abroad.

 

Follow Jenny on her magnificent journey in 1968 around Europe and beyond, in a cranky old bus called Dennis. Imagine crossing the Sahara Desert, being held up by soldiers in East Berlin before the Wall fell, dodging riots in France, Spain, Britain, with the spreading unrest across Europe as it began to prosper.

 

This is a story of deep friendship, adventure, good fun, including—of course—the inevitable love story!

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From French Fries to a Franchise is non-fiction memoir.

 

Michele Layet was one of Australia’s pioneering McDonald’s female franchisees. She started as a Trainee manager in 1982 and became part of a McDonald’s experiment to hire from outside the McDonald’s family.
 
Do McDonald’s put sugar in their buns? Why do they only hire children?
 
How do you buy your own store? And can you make money out of it?

 

Michele answers all these questions, and many more, by drawing on her own experiences as one of Australia’s first female franchisees and also by enlisting the help of an eight-foot tall plastic clown.

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Essential reading for everyone, especially in the wake of #BlackLivesMatter.

 

This second edition of The Cherry Picker’s Daughter is an exquisite portrait of growing up Aboriginal on the fringes of outback towns in NSW in the mid-twentieth century. It offers profound insights into the extraordinary strength, resilience and ingenuity of Aboriginal families to overcome extreme poverty, persecution, racism and cultural genocide.

 

 “Australia has waited too long to read this book of courage and truth. It heralds a timely change in our thinking of Aboriginal activism.” – Jeanine Leane, Wiradjuri writer and academic.

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"Bracingly honest, funny and rewarding, this is a book you can't put down." – Sydney Morning Herald.

 

Darkly funny and beautifully told, Sex, Drugs and Meditation is a tale for those of us who confuse being busy with being happy; the story of a woman who dared herself to stop talking and start living – and loving. 
 
Determined to avoid MORE therapy and desperate to cope with an increasingly toxic work environment, Mary-Lou signs up for a ten-day meditation retreat that requires total silence, endless hours of sitting cross-legged, and no dinner. For a woman who talks for a living, is rarely still and eats for comfort, this was never going to be an easy task.

 

Sex, Drugs and Meditation is a tale of learning to sit still, shut up and gain wisdom. Mary-Lou must take the hardest path of all: to confront and overcome, once and for all, the darkness within.

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Optimism, resilience, audacity, hope, surviving daily challenges for themselves and those they love - carers embody all of these qualities.

 
Cheryl Koenig’s fifth book, a memoir, deals with all those human qualities necessary to not only survive a life-threatening diagnoses and a subsequent insidiously painful disease, but to thrive in spite of them.
Cheryl’s is a story about never giving up, nor giving in. Most importantly, however, it is a love story that knows no limits.

 

It is the sequel to her fourth book, With Just One Suitcase, where she met her soulmate, Rob, at fifteen and is still happily married to him after a turbulent life where hers, and her eldest son’s mortality was questioned.

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Life is Funnier than Fiction. It certainly is for one Australian woman living in Bali...

 

The Ibu Chronicles are blog-like snippets of the daily life of an Australian woman and her Dutch husband living in Bali, Indonesia, as they find themselves assimilating into a Traditional Balinese life.
 
These are honest and humorous accounts of this couple's constant mistakes and constant lessons that come from living and working with a nagging Balinese Mother, Ibu.
 
Ibu means mother in Indonesian. Ibu is blunt, Ibu is demanding and Ibu makes sure working in Bali is never boring.

 

Immerse yourself in these true stories of Ibu, the writer and her husband doing business in Bali, Indonesia.

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She suffered an unimaginable loss. Her journey back from darkness would make her whole again.

 

Isolated in a small country town, Veronica is already struggling with motherhood, trapped under the yoke of an ordinary life. After her second daughter, Jacqueline is born with severe disabilities, every moment of every day becomes crowded with people and interventions to keep her alive and well. Despite all the intense love and care - and just before her fifth birthday - Jacqueline dies, and Veronica falls into an ocean of grief.

 

Wishing to never feel the pain of loss again, her grief builds a wall that keeps her emotions safely locked away, until a brave confession offers the first chink of light in that impenetrable barrier. Gradually, aided by friends, mentors, books, and her own cathartic writing, Veronica feels the cold, hard lump of her heart respond. She begins to heal. Inside this poignant memoir, you’ll travel the ten stages of the Heroine’s Journey and learn how to acquire healing along the way. You'll discover how to find feeling and connection to the person you want, and need to be.

 

Raw journals, tools, and powerful lessons will guide and inspire you to follow your own quest for wholeness—in your own way, at your own pace.

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A memoir is only a slice of a life.

 

This 'questory' (quest + history) covers more than the beloved cake-eating hippo. 'Not Just a Piece of Cake' is a candid memoir of the realistic process of the process of creativity, via anecdotes. 'Anecdultery' is a Hazel original term for story.
Hazel Edwards takes the reader behind the books. She shares the humour of a diverse work style and family life behind the beloved characters like the cake-eating hippo. Hippocampus is where memories are kept.

 

Collaborating with illustrators, performers, co-authors and even family, Hazel shares 'the process of the process of writing' and why storytelling matters culturally, and personally.

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War Child is a true story that spans a hundred years, a tale of Nazi Germany, the lingering effects of war, the 1950s Australian migration experience and a modern-day search.

 
Magdalena (‘Leni’) is an illegitimate child born in pre-World War II Germany in a small town steeped in superstition. Spurned by her Catholic grandfather, Leni lives in poverty in a country sliding towards war.
 
At school she joins the Hitler Youth before going to work at fourteen to support her mother and two younger brothers. With no-one to protect her, a sadistic employer forces her to submit to secret systematic rape or face having her mother interned. She quickly learns to stay silent and keep her secret.
 
As the end of the war approaches, Leni flees the advance of the Red Army, surviving on her wits, transformed from a meek, cowed girl to protector of her family. In the post-war chaos she falls pregnant to her Yugoslav boyfriend, marrying him in a bid to avoid the hardship and stigma that blighted her childhood.

 

The little family migrates to Australia under the International Refugee Organization program, enduring appalling conditions in Bagnoli Refugee Transit Camp and the hardships of the Bonegilla Migrant Hostel, and now facing the enormous task of beginning a new life in an alien land.

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How do children survive a mother’s abandonment and a stepmother’s cruelty in an outback town in the 1950s?

 

With imagination, a strong sibling bond, and humour to escape a bleak home life.

 

This book will take you on a comical and poignant journey.

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AN EXPLICIT AUTOBIOGRAPHY DEPICTING A LIFE LIVED DIFFERENTLY!

 

Jack started to hate his mother at age six. He adopted himself at eight. Had his first affair with a friends European wife at 15. From that point onward, everything was about getting to Europe to chase women and ski, not necessarily in that order.
 
This book reads like fiction until the reader realizes that it’s a true account of how to meld fun, adventures, business and addictions into a life most can only imagine.
 
Verbier, Monaco, New York, London and Tahiti, partying with the rich and famous, chasing one sexual exploit after the other while risking life and limb to achieve the most exhilarating experience.

 

Honestly written, based on memories with over forty photos and comments by those who were involved. If you read one autobiography, READ this one of a life lived differently that will make you wish you were a part of it.

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Poor eyesight never impacted author Ken Brandt's vision of what life could be. Positive Vision makes a rollicking good read from cover to cover.

 

Whether galloping across the Montana range, exploring claustrophobic (and fiery!) caverns, chasing a thief through the streets of 1980s New York, or taking a plunge from a plane, his adventures are sure to entertain. Complementing the adventures are amusing and relatable anecdotes demonstrating the advantages of poor eyesight.

 

Enjoy the exciting escapades and interesting insights. Seeing the bright side makes life more fun for you and those around you.

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The lives of two families in Australia and the life that unfolded around them.
 
The Kingdom and O’Brien families began a new life in Australia during the mid- 1800s. The green and pleasant lands of home were gone; this brown and unforgiving land was their new home. These people had been given a second chance – one man arrived in chains, the rest arrived to avoid starvation. This was the real Survivor – many decades before the creation of B-grade celebrities. But there was more to each of their lives than two dates on a genealogy website.
 
What did they do during the days and nights? What could they buy and where could they buy it from? What was the entertainment like? Who or what was in the news? In these times there was no Facebook, CNN or even Gogglebox. How did they cope without them? When discovering the shenanigans of a great-great-grandfather who had fifteen children (but only five with his wife), the author also researched the times the families lived in. 
 
A dry sense of humour prevails with the occasional moment of reflection on the sadder moments. History can be funny, history can be sad – but we need to hear the stories. It is history and it is their story.
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Known as one of the world's most spectacular and challenging treks, the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, offers the experience of a lifetime.

 

On the 75th anniversary of the campaign between Australian and Japanese troops, author Nikki Moyes trekked the 96km of track where her grandfather acted as a translator. Known for its steep, rugged, and muddy mountain terrain, the track also offers stunning scenery, magnificent jungle plant life, and friendly locals.

 

This is what it is like to hike the Kokoda Track.

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Jan and Ian Mitchell (round the world sailors) bought Realitas in 1983 so they could take their two growing boys ocean cruising.

 

Crossings in Realitas tells of the trials and tribulations of raising their sons and teaching them to respect the ocean and sail her waves.

 

Realitas was a 32' ocean-going yacht on which the family voyaged up and down the coast, to Tasmania, New Zealand and out to Lord Howe Island several times.

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Jan and Ian Mitchell sailed their twenty-five foot yacht, Caprice, around the world between February 1974 and November 1977.

 

Jan writes about seasickness, gales, learning to navigate, coping with strong currents, rigging failure at sea and repairs. There are also the joys of friendships with other cruising folk, visits to tropical paradises and a stay on an uninhabited island.

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In the third volume of Jan Mitchell’s sailing memoirs, Hear the Ocean Sing she tells of her own and Ian’s sufficient recovery in health to return to ocean cruising.

 

They dream of sailing to Chile and Cape Horn in a sturdy steel yacht. But reality soon hits hard that Libelle and the Chilean channels are not for them. Three years later, they find Osprey A, a tough Brolga 33, at Scarborough Marina in Queensland.

 

In this volume, Jan takes the reader to sea with her and Ian, experiencing severe seasickness and a dismasting, but also wondering at the beauties of the ocean, its creatures and the pristine wildernesses they visit. She also observes the alterations in wind patterns, currents, water and air temperatures as well as the decrease in corals and other sea life.

 

These are all symptomatic of the changing climate that is altering our planet’s weather and the world of ocean cruising.

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One Path, Many Lights takes you on the roller-coaster ride of twelve months in the life of author, counsellor, hypnotherapist and Reiki master teacher, Maria Lacey.

 

By sharing her story Maria has one aim; to encourage you to recognise that change and adversity can empower you to move forward in your life.

 

Experience the wonder of spiritual visions after the Chilean earthquake, the grounding fears and anxieties of everyday life, including a life-threatening rush to hospital, surgery a few months later and the personal struggle with anxiety, the ego-self and the mirrored reflection of those around her.

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His car was firebombed by corrupt cops, and contracts taken out by notorious hitmen, but no one was off-limits to ‘Skull’ Murphy’s fearless fight against crime.

Vicki Petraitis explores the many facets of The Skull’s story. Starting on the mean streets of South Melbourne, to his early years as a policeman, then his fight against police corruption. Dodging crooks and corruption on both sides of the thin blue line, The Skull carefully cultivated a reputation for being a ‘mad bastard’.

 

Much has been written about The Skull’s escapades, but few have explored the method behind the madness.

This is his story.

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Top Deck double deckers offered a revolutionary form of long-distance transport from the 70s to the 90s. The large British Lodekkas carried young adventurers vast distances through SE Asia, the Middle East and Australia in a innovative mode of no frills adventure tourism.

 

Employed by Top Deck as a double decker bus driver in early 1977, TREVOR CARROLL conducted European tours for a year before he was set loose on his first overland tour, London to Kathmandu and return. A three-week dash to Kathmandu had the tour stumbling into the start of the civil war in Afghanistan mixing in with soldiers and tanks on the roads.
 
Trevor describes his exciting and sometimes harrowing experiences on six overland trips as both driver and courier. Finally, he embarked on the massive 20-week Sydney to London tour in 1980 with its third and final leg aboard ‘Casper’ and its 20 occupants crossing India, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Jordan Israel, Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia, and Italy passing through 21 countries and 34,000 kilometres.

 

The author met his future wife, Hilde on this final tour.

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Trevor Carroll worked in the travel industry throughout Europe and the war torn Middle East for five years before returning home to Australia, and a job with the NSW Police Force.

 

In 1982 his baptism of fire began in the cauldron of Cabramatta as it was at that time. It was here that the seasoned Cabramatta cops taught him the job. After three busy years with cops that were not known to take a backward step he was posted to the supposedly peaceful town of Forster. There, he worked alone more often than not, facing daily challenges. 

 

The Cops – Not Just a Job gives an insight into a side of life most of us do not experience. It raises many issues – ethical, practical and psychological – which would be helpful for both serving and prospective police officers to discuss.

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I slept through my first labour.

 

With her career down the toilet, a husband who was never home, a baby screaming non-stop and her cries for help falling on deaf ears, Megan Blandford spent years saying, “I’m fine”.
 
Spoiler alert (not really): she wasn’t fine.
 
I’m Fine (and other lies) is Megan Blandford’s honest, hilarious and arresting account of postnatal depression and early motherhood.

 

This book is a lifeline to new mums, and invaluable to those who want to understand their experience.

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Short stories that are true and seek to offer advice.

PEEved (Truth) – Every man over 50 must read and heed. Girlfriends and wives should buy this book and compel their man to read it. It will not only save lives and relationships, but the explicit suffering expressed in this story.
 
BILL'S STORY (Truth) – This is guest author Bill Van Atten’s story of an issue that is as important as PEEved. Another serious narrative of how to understand, research, and make decisions that can literally save your life.
 
GEORGE (Advice) – Saddened and lost after the death of his wife, George decides to pick up the pieces and live. George tackles the confusing, frightening, and enlightening world of internet dating.
 
NOT ALL DAYS ARE THE SAME (Truth) – Some love holidays and birthdays. Others dread the thought. One man’s take on the days of the year that will shock some and encourage others.
 
OFF THE GRID (Advice) – A life of luxury comes to an end when the money is gone and the forced sale of the home of forty years is imminent. Shattered and facing homelessness, a friend comes to the rescue with a plan that defies the law.

 

BEING AN AUTHOR (Truth & Advice) – If you have ever thought about writing a book, here are some do’s and don’ts.

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Harry Williams from the age of ten years wanted to become a drover, like his father and grandfather before him.

 

This is his life story of leaving school at ten years old, operating his first droving plant at thirteen years and fully operational at twenty-one years old.

 

Droving is now a craft past its used by date. Harry Williams didn't think so.

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From Cornwall to an untamed South Australia...

 

Based on the true story of the Bryar family, who left their homeland in search of a better life. Richard and his son Thomas secure free passage to South Australia, where they dream of a new beginning working in the copper mine of Burra.

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Many twenty- and thirty-somethings intend to "do" an extreme adventure, somewhere exotic, but most just dream or join the coach tour. Trevelyan Edwards dared to cycle and walk alone.


‘Cycling Solo: Ireland to Istanbul’ explores five months of cycling soloacross Europe. From Ireland to Istanbul via the UK, France, Germany,the Swiss Alps, Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey, with9000 kilometres of forgettable camp-sites, punctures, falls and  random kindnesses in between, this is a journey worth sharing, particularly when told with such candour.
 
All on a budget of nothing.


In "Cycling Solo", Trevelyan has found his voice but the bike is in bits! Aimed at those seeking adventure and imaginative problem solving, this book  appeals to backpackers, travellers and those who enjoy "being there".

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The true story of Australia's first international Super Star, Dame Nellie Melba.
 
Part of the critically acclaimed Aussie Heroes series.
 
This book is a child friendly, informative and entertaining look at the life of Helen Porter Mitchell who became the Opera star, Dame Nellie Melba.

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