It gives me great pleasure to announce the release of my historical, rural romance - All Quiet on the Western Plains - set in western Queensland, Australia in 1924.
"One war, two battle-scarred hearts, one chance for happiness."
English nurse, Fleur Armitage, wants to escape all reminders of the Great War, which killed family and friends; by living as far from its reminders as possible - in outback Queensland. Jack Edgarson is a pastoralist, war hero and damaged man. Suffering from nightmares and sleep walking, he lives in isolation, fearful he may harm someone. Through a chance meeting, their lives become entangled. They come to share their love of the wide western plains, but dare they love each other?
Available from Amazon and all good ebooksellers.
During the 1920s, the biggest concern for many people in country Queensland, aside from the weather, was the rapid spread of the pest cacti commonly known as prickly pear. From Mackay in central Queensland to central New South Wales, these plants were multiplying and choking the land. They had been introduced into Australia from North and South America during the nineteenth century.
Warnings of their capacity to multiply and make good land useless began in the 1870s, but it wasn't until the 1890s that bylaws and legislation requiring their removal were created. By the early twentieth century, the need for a biological control of the pest had been recognised. Although an effective poison to kill the cacti was determined in 1916, obtaining it during World War One was difficult and Australia's manpower and the money to control prickly pear were employed overseas.
Finally, in 1919, the Commonwealth Government and the governments of Queensland and New South Wales established a joint project, to discover and introduce into Australia biological pests of prickly pear, to control its spread. Achieving this goal was to take 10-20 years, but the introduction of Cactoblastis cactorum and a number of other parasites of the cacti, was an outstanding success.
Not all of Queensland was affected by prickly pear. Open plains were generally spared the infestation - among them the plains of western Queensland. It is here that my latest book, All Quiet on the Western Plains is set. The characters therefore weren't involved in the struggle to control prickly pear that was going on in much of rural Queensland in 1924.
Does your family have a story from the bad old days of Prickly Pear? I would love to hear from you.
All Quiet on the Western Plains - available 1 May 2014 - from Amazon, Steam eReads and Book Srand.
Dodd Alan P. The progress of biological control of prickly pear in Australia. Commonwealth Prickly Pear Board, Brisbane, 1929.
Dodd Alan P. The biological campaign against prickly-pear. Commonwealth Prickly Pear Board, Brisbane, 1940.
Dodd, Alan P. ‘The Conquest of Prickly-Pear’. RHSQJ, 1945, 3, 5, pp. 351-61.
Mann, John. The Naturalised Cacti in Australia, Queensland Lands Department, Brisbane, 1970.
While working on my latest book, All Quiet on the Western Plains, I looked at fashions in the 1910s and '20s, and have since found some lovely French fashion studies from the period advertised online. They are from hand-painted pochoirs (stencils) - using gouache and watercolour - dating from circa 1912- circa 1925. I think the fashions are gorgeous! See what you think.
Go to the following link, if you're interested (b.t.w. I have no connection to this business) :
If you would like further information about pochoir and the journal in which they were published (Gazette Du Bon Ton - Mode et Frivolites) see: http://antique-print-club.blogspot.com.au/