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Meeting the Hon. Ted Baillieu

Last night the Hon. Ted Baillieu spoke to the Camberwell Historical Society about Sir John Monash.

Ted Baillieu is Chair of the Anzac Centenary Committee, established to commemorate Victoria's involvement in World War I. He was also the 46th Premier of Victoria. I was lucky to be able to meet him and give him a signed copy of Backtracks

Backtracks books donated to local aged care facilities

This week I donated fifteen copies of Backtracks: Recollections of Remarkable Australians to local aged care facilities.

Many aged care facilities in Australia have small libraries or reading rooms, but no budgets to purchase books. All of the facilities were very grateful for my donation. At one local facility I heard of a woman who had once dined with Walt Disney, and with Queen Elizabeth, at dinner parties in her younger years. Please consider donating a new book to an aged care facility near you.

Rotary Club of Canterbury talk

Many thanks to the Rotary Club of Canterbury for inviting me to speak tonight. I enjoyed talking with you about oral histories and my Backtracks book, but I also learned of the great things Rotary Club does locally, nationally and internationally. Thank you also for the kind gifts, and for making a donation to Interplast.

Photo taken by Sue Clifford, Rotary Club of Canterbury

2017 speaking engagements

I have a number of speaking engagements scheduled for 2017. Please contact the appropriate organisation if you would like to attend.


30 January 6pm for 6:30pm Rotary Club of Canterbury, 2 Rochester Rd, Canterbury

7 February  10am  Camberwell Probus Club, St Faith's Anglican Church, 8 Charles St, Glen Iris

24 February 11am Combined Probus Club of Tunstall, Nunawading Uniting Church, corner Whitehorse Rd and O'Shannessey St, Nunawading

Camberwell Dymocks Booklover VIP Christmas event

The Camberwell Dymocks Booklover VIP Christmas event is happening this Thursday, from 6 to 8 pm, at The Well.

I'll be selling and signing copies of Backtracks, and fourteen other authors will also be there ready to sign their books too.

More information is available at the following link:

A brief moment with Jodi Picoult

I was lucky enough to be able to give Jodi Picoult a copy of Backtracks at tonight's Dymock's Literary Club event in Camberwell.

Jodi was here to speak about her new book, Small Great Things. It was an interesting evening, with a very big crowd of about 200 people. The publication of her book, the subject of which is race and prejudice, is very timely, given recent events in the US presidential election. 

Talks at Probus clubs in 2016

A big thank you to all of the Probus clubs where I've given talks over the past year.

  • Probus Club of Chatham
  • Mens Probus Club of of Mt Martha
  • Blackburn Probus Club
  • Mont Albert Probus Club
  • Combined Probus Club of Blackburn South

You have warmly invited me into your speaker's halls, horticultural centres, RSLs and other venues and I've enjoyed meeting you all.

Backtracks book at South Australian libraries

Did you know that South Australia has a 'one card' library system that links over 130 libraries across the state? Did you also know that the system holds 22 copies of Backtracks: Recollections of Remarkable Australians

Visit the Libraries of SA website to learn more, or to reserve a copy of my book if you are local.



Twitter: @LibrariesSA


Anniversary of the West Gate Bridge collapse

Today was the 45th anniversary of the West Gate Bridge collapse.

I would like to thank Tommy Watson for allowing me to interview him for my book Backtracks: Recollections of Remarkable Australians. I am proud that almost 100 copies of the book have been distributed to public libraries throughout Australia. I hope that these books will carry Tommy's words about Australia's worst industrial accident to future generations for years to come.

100 books sold in the first month!

Billycan Press has just sold its 100th Backtracks: Recollections of Remarkable Australians book. 

Since we received the books from the printer just over a month ago, we've sold 100 books. Thank you to all of those who have purchased a book.

For those who haven't purchased a book yet, you can do so directly from me at:, from Readings bookshop online at:, or if you are a library, from James Bennett online at: or Peter Pal at:

Backtracks: Recollections of Remarkable Australians

The Backtracks book will be available later this year! Check back in August for a Sales tab on the Billycan Press website to purchase your copy of Backtracks.

‘The sail just lifted me up ... over the edge of the sail, hanging on with two hands. That was nearly my last day at sea.’ Captain Donald L Garnham

 ‘I came over on the ferry from Manly going to work the next morning ... one of the two thousand passengers on board a very crowded ferry. I was reading the latest bestseller called Gone with the Wind. Not one single person even noticed that the Kuttabul’s funnel was just sticking up out of the water. It wasn’t until later in the day that we found out what had happened during the night.' Jean Nysen (McKenzie) WR-87

Backtracks: Recollections of Remarkable Australians is a collection of engaging stories told by those who have witnessed the best, and the worst, of Australia. Each Backtracks chapter focuses on an interview with a single person. Joely Taylor integrates their interviews seamlessly into each story and takes the reader on a journey across Australia, and across time. From sailing aboard a four-masted barque in 1936 to witnessing the West Gate Bridge disaster in 1970, Backtracks captures the history behind some of Australia’s most iconic places and interesting people, brings to life the challenges and the reality of life in Australia and celebrates the real Australia for what, and more importantly who, it is.

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