Many years ago, I got access to the diaries of Minnie Hunter, whose father, James, was the original lessee of Kalangadoo Station in the South East of South Australia. The land that constituted our family farm, where I grew up, was originally part of the Hunter run.
My continuing fascination with Minnie’s story has ultimately resulted in my historical novel, Boss. But it has also given me a continuing interest in writing about events and themes from Australia’s history.
In particular, while researching Minnie’s story, I was fascinated by life in ‘marvellous Melbourne’ at the end of the nineteenth century. At that time Melbourne, for so long Australia’s boom city on the back of the wool and gold booms, had been hit by a major recession in the early 1890s. As a result it was a city of extreme contrasts, new wealth alongside growing unemployment and poverty, with consequent very significant social issues.
This is the setting for my new novel, Taken In, a crime mystery set in Melbourne in 1896.