History

  • New Release: Valour and Violets

    cover of Valour and Violets by Robert Kearney and Sharon Cleary

    Cover of the book

    Valour and Violets, the latest release from Wakefield Press, is a meticulously researched catalogue of the stories of hundreds of South Australians who gave their country everything.

    Close to 35,000 South Australians enlisted for service overseas during the Great War. Around 5500 never came back. Countless more returned with physical and psychological injuries that would affect them for the rest of their lives.

    Valour and Violets brings together for the first time the stories of the campaigns and battles in which South Australians served, set against the backdrop of the South Australian home front. Here are the stories of Frederick Prentice, the first of three Indigenous South Australians to be awarded the Military Medal; Thomas Baker, the gunner who became an ace pilot; and Sister Margaret Graham, awarded the Royal Red Cross for her contribution to army nursing. Here too are lesser known stories, such as that of Alexandrina Seager, who formed the Cheer-Up Society back home and worked every single day during the war, despite losing her youngest son at Gallipoli. Or Clara Weaver of Rosewater, who not only lost five sons to the war but also her husband, George, who died at home before the war ended.

    Drawing on the work of the many who have written on the subject previously,Valour and Violets provides a wholly South Australian perspective on the impact of the Great War on individuals, on families and on our state’s coastal, regional, and outback communities.

    Read an Extract >>

    Copies are available online, and from our bookshop in Mile End.

    Special thanks to Veterans SA.

  • New Release: The Day They Shot Edward

    Front cover of The Day They Shot Edward

    Cover of the book

    Wendy Scarfe’s second novel, The Day They Shot Edward, tells a tale of a family in turmoil, set against the political mess of the First World War. Told from the perspective of a nine-year-old Matthew, the narration has an air of innocence, making the horrors of what is to come all the more confronting.

    About the book:

    It is 1916. The Australian community is riven over a referendum to conscript more troops for the killing fields of Europe. Nine-year-old Matthew’s family, divided politically and sinking into poverty, reflects the social conflict. Handsome, generous Edward is at the centre of the family friction. Gran hates the war as Edward does, Mother flirts with him to escape the misery of her marriage, and young Matthew adores him.

    As patriotic frenzy takes hold, police informers spy on Edward and track his anti-conscription activities. Sabotage and anarchism are meaningless words to Matthew. Absorbed in childhood fantasies, he is unaware that he too is helping draw the net around Edward. It is left to Matthew’s German headmaster to teach him that, like music, people grow with love.

    Praise for The Day They Shot Edward:

    The Day They Shot Edward is a beautiful and compassionate story. The deep sense of mystery and heightened awareness of emotion, which are the spiritual gifts of the child, become lenses for examining fundamental issues of life, death, peace, and what it means to love.’ – Di Bretherton

    Praise for Wendy Scarfe’s Hunger Town:

    ‘A powerful evocation of an era which is soon to lose the last of its witnesses … trust me, it is a compelling page-turner; it’s riveting reading.’ – Lisa Hill, ANZ Litlovers

    The Day They Shot Edward is being launched at Brightbird Espresso in Warrnambool on Tuesday 13 February. For more information, visit our website.

    Both The Day They Shot Edward and Hunger Town are available for purchase online, or at our bookshop in Mile End.

  • New Release: All the Kings’ Men

    All the Kings’ Men records the story of the oldest continuously operating cricket club still in existence in South Australia – the Hindmarsh Cricket Club which now operates under the name of West Torrens – and the stories of the people who built it.

    SA Wicketkeeper ‘Alfie’ Jarvis on the cover

    This book also traces the evolution of Club cricket in the Adelaide metropolitan area from the birth of the colony until 1900. It highlights the development of cricket through significant and progressive changes in society, such as industrial relations, transport, education, the telegraph, the press, politics, class and the economy.

     

    All the Kings’ Men teases out the social impacts of cricket in the new colony of South Australia and, in particular, the western suburbs of Adelaide, providing insights into the hardships that the working class endured to play competitive sport. The text profiles many of these players, and the detailed statistical records highlight the talented cricketers of the nineteenth century, such as Arthur Harwood Jarvis, the first South Australian cricketer to represent Australia.

     

     

    About Denis Brien:

    Denis Brien has been a lover of cricket and its history since school. He is a former 1st-grade player, administrator and has coached state women’s and junior men’s teams. Denis worked as a teacher and student counsellor and became a cricket historian on retirement. His keen interest in South Australia’s first international representative inspired him to write this history. He has also written publications on counselling, environmental studies and cricket and education history.

     

    A perfect read for cricket enthusiasts, All the Kings’ Men is available on our online store or at our bookshop in Mile End.