Newsletter DECEMBER 2020


Fortuitous Seas

For release on December 2nd, 2020: Burdekin Heartbeats.

The Genre of this story is Historical/Fiction/Romance/Adventure.


 By Margaret Bevege Ph.D., author of ‘Behind Barbed Wire’, UQP.

In her character Shauna Doolan, Elizabeth Rimmington has created a true pioneering hero. While much of eastern Australia was settled by 1900, regions of North Queensland were still being opened to agriculture. The south bank of the Burdekin was one such area. Rimmington depicts the struggles of the sugar and cattle pioneers with the vicissitudes of the land and she shows the resulting physical and emotional toll on the people. Her detailed descriptions of the grubbing of stumps, the clearing of scrub and the hand planting of cane by the men, while the women launder in fire-heated outdoor tubs and bake in primitive kitchens, ring true.

Shauna falls in love, struggles in marriage, has near encounters with deadly snakes and nurses a damaged returned World War I soldier. She sets up a school for the children of the local Aboriginal, Chinese and Irish families. Her life is set in real-time history and while she is a fiction, her true-life equivalents existed in the precise environment that Rimmington describes.

Burdekin Heartbeats is a book for the world-wide Burdekin diaspora and equally for those who want a window into an Australian pioneering story that rings true.

Current Weather and Tides

At the moment I am visiting the Sunshine Coast Area to promote the third novel Burdekin Heartbeats. Today it will be released for sale.

The book will be available at all Ingram Spark distribution channels plus:

Home Hill Newsagency                             Mary Who? Bookshop – Townsville

The Maleny Bookshop                               The Nambour Book Exchange

The Caloundra Book Shop                         Twigga book shop – Gympie

and on this website. Let me know via the website if you are unable to get your copy.

Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep smiling. Keep safe.


A Pearl for your Enjoyment

Instalment TWO of TWO                              ‘Who’d Have Thought’

This had been a homework piece for one of my writers’ group.

A man buys a hammer, a hatchet, a rope, and an apple. What does he do with them?

This story was written very much with tongue in cheek. The main character had certainly not perused the latest guide on Optimum Standards in Raising Children. But …

Fred’s head did not raise from his task of trimming the branches he had cut from the tree. The chipping of the hatchet blade echoed across the back yard like the beat of the soft drum in a band. The heavier drum came into play when he used his new hammer to bang a row of nails around the four sides of the framework. By the time a rectangular framework of wood had been hammered into the ground, the sounds of the rebellious child had ceased.

The relief was seen in the crinkle of his faded blue eyes when he noticed the child asleep on the old love seat hanging askew from the biggest branch of the tree. Fred’s gnarled fingers weaved, pleated, and knotted until the space within the frame filled like a giant spider’s web.

From his blanket on the verandah where he gnawed at a bone, the blue dog watched Fred’s every move. Apple juice dribbled down into Fred’s whiskers as he grinned at his work.

“Here, Blue,” Fred called as he tossed the trimmed apple core in the dog’s direction. Nails scrambled on the verandah timbers. Blue leapt for the treat.

Looking like mirror images of each other, two older children in baggy overalls strode up the track. Dust rose with every footfall. Drought gripped the land in a chokehold.

“Did you kids get the dog-traps set okay?”

“Yeah, Pa. The lambs should be safe tonight.” The soft speech of a girl belied the dirt-smeared face and hands with a saggy hat unable to contain the knotted brown hair dangling past her shoulders.

Her companion, a boy, given the juvenile’s breaking voice, asked, “You’ve finished Kate’s hammock then? Where is the birthday girl?”

“Asleep on the swing. Had to tie her up before she either cut off an arm or leg with the hatchet or nailed herself to the ground with the new hammer. I swear I’m going to build her a bear-cage if she doesn’t learn to think about what’s she’s doing.”

The pair of new arrivals laughed. It was the girl who spoke. “Kate has no sense of danger, fear, or caution; I’ll grant you that. Now I’d best go in and see to our pie for tea.”

As if hearing her name, the child sat up rubbing her eyes. She glared at Fred. “You tied me to the tree.”

“Yes, I did.” A softness filled the old man’s eyes as he smiled. “If you were ever going to live long enough to sleep in your birthday hammock tonight, I had to do something to save you from yourself.”

“The hammock; oh, Pa, you finished the hammock.”

Fred walked over and untied his granddaughter. His heart somersaulted inside his chest as Kate threw herself into his arms and smothered him in kisses.

“Well, come on then, you can help me remove it from this frame and set it up, Then, you are to go with your brother to collect the cow manure to make a dung fire; unless you want to be savaged by the mozzies tonight while you sleep out here on the verandah.