Wakefield Press is an independent book publishing company based in Adelaide, South Australia.


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The Boys from St Francis

Stories of the remarkable Aboriginal activists, artists and athletes who grew up in one seaside home

Ashley Mallett

This remarkable true story pays tribute to a band of Aboriginal boys who grew up together in one group home - many succeeding spectacularly in later life.

In 1945, Anglican priest Father Percy Smith brought six boys from their Northern Territory home to an Adelaide beach suburb. There, they became the first boys of St Francis, a place that would house 50 such boys over 11 years. Some were sent, with the blessing of their mothers, to gain an education. Others were members of the Stolen Generations.

In their interviews with Ashley Mallett, many of these men recall Father Smith's kindness and care. His successors, however, were often brutal, and the boys faced prejudice in a wider world largely built to exclude Indigenous Australians. ...
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The Boys from St Francis
Yesterday You Were Here

Mellissa Little

This touching, carefully sparse picture book for young readers aims to help young people dealing with the loss of a loved one to process and talk about their grief.

'In sadness this book will be a kind friend.' - Michael O'Connell, AM, APM, Commissioner for Victims' Rights

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Yesterday You Were Here
Mary Lee

The life and times of a 'turbulent anarchist' and her battle for women's rights

Denise George

Suffragist and social justice advocate Mary Lee was determined to leave the world a better place than she found it. The feisty 59-year-old widow, of limited means and with few family and friends, settled in Adelaide in 1879 and immediately set to work.

Undaunted by the opposition of antagonistic politicians and a conservative public, Mary thrust herself into high profile campaigns in support of female refuge, improving women's working conditions and gaining women's suffrage. In 1894, South Australia became the first place in the world to pass legislation giving women the right to vote and be elected members of parliament, thanks in no small part to Mary Lee's energy and committed determination.
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Mary Lee
Mallee Boys

Charlie Archbold

Sandy Douglas knows that life at fifteen is hard, but it's even harder when your mother died a year ago and nothing's gone right since. His brother Red, on the other hand, is eighteen now and working the farm. He's amped up on rage and always looking for a fight. And then there's their dad Tom. He does his best, but - really - he doesn't have a clue.

As Sandy and Red deal with girls, dirt biking, footy and friendship, both boys have to work out who they want to be, without their mum around. The Mallee, where they live, may seem like the middle of nowhere, but it turns out this is going to be one hell of a year. ...

Honour Book in the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers Award


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Mallee Boys
Clare Belfrage

Rhythms of necessity

Kay Lawrence, Sera Waters, Clare Belfrage

Clare Belfrage has built an extraordinary career as a glass artist. Clare Belfrage: Rhythms of necessity is the first major publication that explores the significance of her contribution to contemporary international glass art. Exhibited across the world, Belfrage's glass vessels explore the pulse and flow of forces that shape the natural world as well as the lived patterns of the everyday. A similar sense of rhythm underpins the structure of this book: an interleaving of short texts and stunning photographs of Belfrage's vessels that reveal her story to date. ...

See Clare's short film about her art - A Measure of Time.
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Clare Belfrage
The Fierce Country

True stories from Australia's unsettled heart, 1830 to today

Stephen Orr

The open spaces and isolated places outside Australia's cities have unsettled us from first European settlement to today - often with very good reason.

In this nail-biting book combining the notorious and little-known, acclaimed author Stephen Orr has collected true stories that have shaped and continue to haunt the Australian psyche: mysteries, disappearances, mistreatment and murder.

Fatal conflicts between an Aboriginal tracker and the police employers hunting his community. An itinerant conman picking up tips for the perfect murder from a famous novelist around a campfire on the Rabbit-Proof Fence. And that fateful day when Peter Falconio pulled over beside a desert highway. ...
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The Fierce Country
The People's Poet Transformed

Geoff Goodfellow, Rebecca Bond

'The People's Poet Transformed is a gem of a book positioned beautifully to engage young people with language so that they see how powerful literature can be created out of everyday life, deeply and sensitively observed. Road-tested by teachers, it encourages students to become creators of ideas and texts and to use language to transform both texts and their own view of themselves as people with stories worth hearing.' - Garry Costello, Former secondary principal, English teacher and Chief Education Officer for DECD, South Australia
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The People's Poet Transformed
This Life in Rhymes and Riddles

Heather Caddick

Heather Caddick wrote this personal saga in rhyme, beginning with her grandfather sailing to South Africa with his horse to fight the Boers, her uncle's story of Tobruk, and her father's experience as one of 'Those Ragged Bloody Heroes' of the Kokoda Trail. ...
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This Life in Rhymes and Riddles
And My Heart Crumples Like a Coke Can

Ali Whitelock

Raw and beautiful and completely devoid of pretension, Ali Whitelock's poems will speak to anyone who's ever messed up, been confused, wished they'd done things differently; to anyone who's had an affair and regretted it, who's been loved completely but was too blind to see it. ...
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And My Heart Crumples Like a Coke Can
Bush Mechanics

From Yuendumu to the world

Mandy Paul, Michelangelo Bolognese

Cars are a central feature of life in remote Aboriginal communities. Far from spare parts and sophisticated tools, bush mechanics keep cars running with what is available in the bush, including mulga wood, spinifex and sand. And while the increasing complexity of modern cars poses a challenge, even today the best tool available to travellers in Central Australia is the ingenuity of the bush mechanic. ...
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Bush Mechanics
Behind the Wall

The Women of the Destitute Asylum Adelaide, 1852-1918

Mary Geyer

Behind the Wall is a compelling social history, which provides an insight into Adelaide's Destitute Asylum and the women who experienced life behind its walls. ...
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Behind the Wall
Memoirs of Mixed Fortunes

Samuel Joseph Stuckey, a pioneer of the north and south east of South Australia, 1837-1912

Mary Louise Simpson

In 1837, mere months after proclamation, Samuel Joseph Stuckey was born in the state of South Australia. Despite evidence to the contrary, he would claim to be the first native-born South Australian for the rest of his life, and his fortunes would mirror those of the fledgling state. ...
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Memoirs of Mixed Fortunes