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Conlan's Luck

An Epic Story of the Shearers' War

  • Action and adventure in frontier Australia
  • A long-distance love that tests loyalty to the limit
  • A 'secret civil war' that inspires Waltzing Matilda

Original softcover Novel of 560 pages  $14.95 AUD  inc. historical notes and the Song.
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 If you ever wondered about the facts that inspired 'Waltzing Matilda', you'll be intrigued by the story that unfolds in Conlan's Luck, based on the explosive true events of Australia's 'Secret Civil War.'Across a territory twice as big as Texas, Queensland is aflame with rebellion.

Violence erupts as shearers are incited to battle with Squatters by militant union leaders. Their secret agenda is to make Australia into the world's first Socialist Republic.

Caught in the middle are thousands of  Free labourers.  Matt Conlan is one of them. Conflict with his fiery young wife Tess and  her unionist family  sets Matt on a search for independence, travelling the bush roads of the Outback. Back in Sydney, Tess ignites a different revolution for her women neighbours.

  • Here are Cattle Kings and Camel Chieftains; Traders and Tramps; the dread Native Police and soldiers of the famed Light Horse.  Matt Conlan's fate is entangled with theirs as he moves towards the ultimate test of his principles. And his courage.


see a painting inspired by the novel at right
The Light Horse

  • The military unit now famed as the 2nd/14th Light Horse was formed out of the Queensland Mounted Infantry in February 1860. The famous emu plume decoration was, according to legend, adopted by infantrymen serving in the rural crisis of the 1890s, and officially allowed by the Queensland government after the ending of the Strikes. This time of violent unrest became known as Australia's 'Secret Civil War'and is the backdrop to the action of my novel Conlan's Luck. It was also the inspiration for the words of Waltzing Matilda, best-loved unofficial anthem of Australia.


Illustration         The Light Horse
Artist               Dorothy Gauvin
Medium               Oil on Linen Canvas
Dimensions           56 x 66 cms(22 x 26 ins)
Painting status      Sold - in a private collection
Published as         Plate 23

The Painted Swagman - A Tribute to Waltzing Matilda
                    
This painting was a commissioned as a portrait by the parents of a young recruit to Western Australia's Light Horse regiment.Gauvin writes:

'I explained that I had already visualized a painting of a character for my novel (then in-progress) and would love to combine the two projects. All parties happily agreed and I set to work. Because the young man would seldom see the painting, which would stay in his parents' home, I had a large photo of it printed for him. To my great pleasure, he told me it had been hung in the regiment's Mess Hall, with permission of his commanding officer.'

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