‘Have you met Mrs Edith Coleman? If not you must – I am sure you will like her – she’s just A1 and a splendid naturalist.’
The story of a strange and unique hunting partnership between killer whales and human in the small town of Eden.
Brings to life the courageous and often tragic voyages of Australia’s French explorers
Why is Australia so prone to fires? Have we made things better or worse? Is it possible to live in the Australian bush and be safe from fire?
In museum backrooms, millions of specimens lie waiting to be discovered – bones, fossils, skins, eggs, rocks, plants and artefacts. Each one has a story to tell, a place in the history of our continent.
The story of Victoria's unique Land Conservation Council and its role on protecting and managing public land and wilderness areas.
Step back to a time when giant goannas and marsupial lions stalked the Australian bush.
Ever met a thingadonta or seen a fangaroo?
Come on an Aussie fossil adventure and discover prehistoric life down under.
Step back to a time when Australia’s red centre was flooded by a vast shallow ocean, the Eromanga Sea.
As well as books I occasionally write essays, book reviews and other short forms of writing.
Mapping forgotten worlds: a conversation with Danielle Clode – This article records a conversation between myself and Gillian Dooley about style, genre and technique in my writing, for the journal Writers in Conversation. Always fun to talk about writing, especially across different books, which all demand very different approaches.
Connecting collections and collecting connections – One of the most fascinating and unexpected aspects of my research into the life of Edith Coleman was the material found in herbaria. This essay, in a special issue of the creative arts journal Unlikely, explores the connections between art and herbarium.
Mauritius – Paradise Regained – I visited Mauritius in the Indian Ocean when researching my books on French exploration and was impressed by conservation efforts to save species on the brink of extinction. Published in the excellent online nature magazine Zoomorphic.
The Last Whale – a short story inspired by real events. After the death of his long-time companion, the killer whale Old Tom, the whaler George Davidson decides to go out one last time, at the age of 70, to single-handedly harpoon his final humpback. Published in Transnational Literature.
Seeing the wood for the trees – There are few trees more iconically Australian than gum trees and yet the Tasmanian blue gum Eucalyptus globulus has, remarkably, reverse colonised the world, becoming one of the most widespread tree species on the planet. This personal essay was published as part of the Dahl Trust Fellowship in Australian Book Review.
Here on Earth – This review essay on Tim Flannery’s Here on Earth was commissioned by Reading Australia as part of a series on Australian authors and their works.
Cooperative killers helped hunt whales – One of the things I discovered in writing Killers in Eden was the important (and often unacknowledged) role of the local Indigenous community in established a relationship with killer whales and working in the whaling industry. In this article I explore that forgotten history for Afloat Magazine.