In just one generation Brisbane has  changed beyond recognition; it has grown from country town to vibrant  modern metropolis. Yet it had a tough start. Until the last decade of  the 20th Century it was a blue collar town, struggling under the weight  of its history. Prior to European settlement – as Meanjin – it was a  busy meeting place for the many indigenous clans in the Moreton Bay  region.

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Almost 200 years ago newly-named Brisbane  had an inauspicious start as a penal settlement poorly run by veterans  of the Napoleonic Wars. It became a separate state with the less  financial support from London than any other colony in the mighty  British Empire. Almost a century later is was briefly the Allied Forces  headquarters for the Pacific War, delighting and depressing its citizens  in equal measure. Then it had to fight off corruption in high places  before it could realise its great potential. There was some intrigue  along the way. Early Brisbane society was enlivened by its own  aristocratic Lady Di; a gruesome murder started a dynasty; the Battle of  Brisbane was hushed-up to maintain morale; and the local ‘Rat Pack’  played a rather different Joke.

I arrived in Brisbane just as it started  to take off, and had a bit part in its development. In this book  I explore key moments in the city’s rich history.

To order click on this link: Meanjin to Brisvegas: snapshots of Brisbane’s journey from Colonial Backwater to New World City or the ebook edition


Stock exchanges were crucial in  developing Australia by greasing the often-creaking wheels of  investment. Their spluttering into life in the 1880s was fractious and  disorganized, but fledgling stockbrokers couldn’t ignore the need for  marketplaces to trade stocks and shares in the burgeoning mining  industry.

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They struggled through the great economic  distress of the Federation Drought in the 1890s and emerged as  coherent, collegiate markets based in state capitals that endured for 80  years. Globalisation and technology disrupted the stock exchanges,  forcing them to amalgamated and then become public company itself. Now  global banks using technology to dominate the modern era. Dark pools and  high frequency trading have the ASX scrambling to stay relevant. Yet it  still holds some aces: transparent pricing guides and the scaffolding  to support a range of investment products. The book reviews the often  turbulent history of what has become the ASX, highlighting the  contribution of key individuals and events.

To order click on this link: Bull Market: The rise and eclipse of Australian Stock Exchanges or The ebook edition

In 1824 Captain Patrick Logan of the British Army’s 57th Regiment of Foot was chosen to be the commandant of the harsh new penal colony of Moreton Bay, the forerunner of Brisbane, the capital of the Australian state of Queensland, because he was thought to be of strong character and impeccable credentials.

He was by official reports, a very successful overseer of the fledgling settlement, and may be said to be the father of Brisbane. Yet his charges, the incorrigible old lags - convicts with repeat offences - saw him as a heartless tyrant who routinely ordered unconscionable punishments. He met with a grisly, mysterious end. Was it related to his treatment of convicts? This book takes us on a journey to discover the true character of the man behind so many myths.

To order click on this link: In the Footsteps of Captain Patrick Logan or the e-book edition.