Fancy a trip to Westralia, anyone?

I am writing this blog post from a cosy motel on the outskirts of Armidale – the highest city in Australia (both in elevation and hallucination, I can only assume). Why am I here, you ask? Well, today marked the first day of a three-and-a-half month research trip that will take me on a whirlwind tour of the land of the sweeping plains.

My research topic is what is known as a ‘trans-national’ study – a study that traces ideas and ideologies across national borders. A side effect of this is, of course, that I need to conduct my research on multiple continents. Sadly, this means that I have to be away from home, and my beautiful wife, for three and a half months.

However, it also means that I get to spend that time visiting archives in Armidale, Brisbane, Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth. I get to read the correspondence, diaries, meeting minutes, and other ephemera left behind by the radical conservative groups that I am researching. I get to step inside the minds – indeed, the hearts and souls – of the people, and the times, that form a part of my historical period.

Above all, I get to learn something new every day. For instance, did you know that the provincial strain of thought within new state movements of the 1930s first emerged within the New England movement as a counter to the Cohen Commission’s dismissal of their goal for complete autonomy? Well, I found this out just this afternoon. Okay, okay, so this probably sounds boring to you – but the secessionist tradition to which it belongs is downright fascinating.

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The revolution that wasn’t

It is 2am on the 6th of May 1932. A cold morning, with the crisp promise of winter in the air. The suburb of Maroubra in South-East Sydney slumbers peacefully.

All of a sudden, two limousines appear outside the house of J. S. ‘Jock’ Garden, Secretary of the Trades and Labour Council. Eight men silently disembark. Four peel off around the side of the house, whilst the others knock on the front door, claiming to be policeman searching for a prowler. Garden obligingly opens the door, and is subsequently attacked by all eight men. His two sons rush to their father’s rescue, and manage to drive off seven of the attackers. The eighth, a man named William Scott, is cornered by the family dog and is unable to make good his escape.

Three days later, all eight men pled guilty to assault. But the escapade would not end there. For all eight were members of the ‘Fascist Legion’, a secretive inner group within a paramilitary movement known as the New Guard. And their actions would see an alarming discovery come to light that led to a charge of ‘seditious conspiracy’ being prepared against the New Guard.

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The Life and Death of Armon Attomar

Howdy folks,

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I am currently waiting to hear back about several fiction projects.

My main work – a post-apocalyptic mystery fiction titled “The Mountains” – has been submitted to several literary agents in the United States. I also have two short stories being considered by Aurealis and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction respectively.

However, as the old saying goes, “if you want to be a writer, write every day”. So, rather than simply chewing my fingernails down to nubs whilst waiting, I thought I might hone my skills by publishing some material online.

Continue reading “The Life and Death of Armon Attomar”