Bushrangers terrorised the Australian colonies for much of the nineteenth century, but Glenrowan was something of a turning point. The improvements in communication technology and the arrival of the railway meant bushrangers found it harder to commit their crimes.
My book The Landowner’s Secret takes place shortly after these events, and deals with the threat of bushrangers.
When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.
It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.
What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.
The photograph is from the mid-1800s, and the building still stands in Queanbeyan, New South Wales (but no longer operates as a public house). You can see what it looks like now at the link to Nichole’s account.