Did you know that the first man hanged in Australia made an artefact now valued at over one million dollars?
In many years spent exploring and writing about the quirkier events and people in our history, Jim has discovered characters who have amazed, surprised and simply baffled him. This is a book about twelve of those men and women and their remarkable, out of the ordinary and often unbelievable lives.
There is always more to the story than first meets the eye. Who knew that the first man hanged in Australia made an artefact now valued at over one million dollars? Or that an Australian swimmer was the highest paid act on the American vaudeville circuit and the star of the first movie ever made with a budget of one million American dollars? And that the father of the first Australian woman to serve in parliament was hanged for murder? Then there’s petty thief who escaped Van Diemen’s Land twice – stole the government brig and set sail for Japan – where all foreigners were shot at, by the Shogun’s decree. The world’s best cricketer – champion of Aboriginal people – who ‘invented’ Aussie Rules, survived the worst massacre of white settlers in history, and killed himself with a pair of scissors and the eccentric musical genius…who played in the greatest concert halls in the world but pushed his favourite piano stool between venues in a wheelbarrow.
Jim shares the tales and adventures of a group of heroic, feisty, flawed and pioneering characters who have shaped our nation and introduced us to the world.
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