Shadows Across Cape York


What was to have been a wonderful year for Rhylla MacBurnie disintegrates into heartache and secrets.

After a moment of fury, her husband Robbie MacBurnie stares at his brother Greg, lying in a widening halo of blood while Rhylla and Robbie’s daughter, Kirsty, lies unconscious and in disarray.

To protect his family, Robbie, disguised as his brother Greg, hops a train to Mount Isa. The police want to arrest Greg while a Sydney razor gang seeks to silence him forever.

Rhylla is left to cope with the challenges of Kirsty’s pregnancy, not knowing if her husband is alive.


Drifting on a timber yardarm following the shipwreck of the Pink Pearl in the Arafura Sea in 1892 had not featured in the plans of the doctors for their triumphant return to their Australian homeland.

Cooktown, the ultimate destination for Doctor Henry George Carson Baldwin and Doctor Edward Benton, floated as an unattainable goalpost on the periphery of their minds.

Even if they survived the dangerous waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria, landing on the western shores of Cape York Peninsula, with the monsoon season only weeks away, did not offer substantial hope for a safe return to civilization.

Brisbane 1866. Lucy Dougall dies; her four children orphaned. Fifteen-year-old Sarah will do whatever it takes to keep her siblings together. When disaster strikes, Sarah is overwhelmed with self-loathing and grief. It is the proprietor of Millie’s Mariner’s Rest; Hotel and Lodging who takes the family in and offers Sarah work. Can Millie help Sarah overcome her psychological scars and guide the young girl to maturity?

Sarah’s brothers, Josh and Gus, seek a berth on the Northern Orchid, the ship on which their father lost his life six years previously. Many believe Jimmy Dougall’s ghost still walks the decks. The boys learn a coastal trader confronting the challenges of the partially mapped reefs of the Queensland Inner Channel, offers many and varied experiences.

A life is lost, another life teeters on the verge of death, another must face the Bowen magistrate.

Quotes to sink your teeth into

With a large splash, the man hit the water and sank.  His body could be seen twisting and turning in the deep clear water.  His head and arms broke the surface.  He screamed again.

“I can’t swim.”

Everyone stood stunned trying to comprehend what had happened.

“Shark.” This scream came from the bow of the ship. Andrew’s thin arms pointed.

“From his bird’s-eye view, Josh watched the dark shadows of the rocks become clearer as the ship edged closer and closer.  He began calling the distances.  Seventy-five yards.  Fifty yards.  Would the ship never respond to the rudder? It seems to be taking forever to turn away.  Then it happened….”

Everybody jumped when a penetrating scream filled the air.  Daisy threw herself onto the casket as it began to disappear.