According to Aboriginal legend a bunyip is a creature, an evil spirit or devil that lurks in swamps, billabongs, riverbeds, creeks and waterholes. It’s also used as a slang synonym for an imposter or a pretender. Exactly what they look like is a matter of debate as you can see from these 19th and 20th century images!
A creature of The Dreamtime (the Aboriginal stories that tell of the creation of the world). When a rainbow is seen it is said to be the serpent moving from one waterhole to another, controlling life’s most precious resource. There are some fantastic examples of ancient Aboriginal art depicting the Rainbow Serpent.
A drop bear is another mythical Australian creature, but this time a lot more tongue in cheek. They are said to be unusually large, vicious, carnivorous marsupial creatures related to koalas. Rumour has it you can deter drop bear attacks by spreading vegemite* behind your ears.
* Vegemite to the uninitiated is a dark brown, almost black paste made from left-over brewer’s yeast extract, with a few spices thrown in. It’s popular on bread or toast for breakfast and most Australians won’t leave the country without it!
Needless to say I can’t resist sneaking facts like these into my Australian historical romances. In “Matilda’s Freedom” you’ll find the tale of Tiddalik, the Thirsty Frog, and in “Lily’s Leap” the story of the Great Goanna, who created the valleys and the mountains.
About the Book (new release)
Born into the rough, but privileged society of the Australian colonial landowners, Lilibeth Dungarven finds herself married, widowed, and, much to her distress, back under her father’s thumb, all before her twenty-first birthday. Determined not to forgo her dream of breeding the perfect racehorse, Lilibeth ignores propriety and sets out to restore the family’s flagging fortunes.
When Captain Tom and his mismatched band of bushrangers stumble across a mob of the best horses they’ve ever seen, and the daughter of the famed Dungarven horse stud, they know their fortunes have changed. Their catch is worth a king’s ransom. All they have to do is hold her for seven days. How hard can it be to control the pampered daughter of a colonial upstart?
ISBN: 9780857991713 Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Amazon and Goodreads Reviews:
“Forget work, forget all your responsibilities and slide into this delicious story ... a well-written book by a talented writer ... since I doubt I’ll be visiting Australia, it was a treat to feel like I was there, herding horses to market across the Australian Outback. The landscape assumes the position of a character in this exciting romance; playing a pivotal role in Lily’s adventure. A fabulous read by a very talented Aussie author … I have no hesitation in HIGHLY recommending Lily’s Leap.”
Hunter Valley, Australia 1848
Lilibeth Dungarven’s cry of pure pleasure soared skywards as the massive black stallion rose to clear the fallen tree, sending the horrors of the last four years scuttling into the dirt of the ancient land.
Clenching her knees against Nero’s heaving flanks she bent low, ducking the overhanging branches framing the bush track, her cheek pressed to the warmth of his muscular neck. When the erratic pounding in her chest settled she drew Nero to a shuddering halt and pushed the damp curls back from her forehead.
A pair of black cockatoos, disturbed by her madcap gallop, shrieked their annoyance and resettled in the whispering casuarina trees. The crack of their beaks as they threw the mangled nuts to the ground filled the silence. Below her the ribbon of sandstone road weaved its way towards Payne’s Crossing and she shielded her eyes from the sun, searching for her mob of horses.
A glint of reflected sunlight drew her eye to a mounted figure in the middle of the road. Despite the hat pulled low shadowing his face, the stockwhip crack of his words registered deep in her belly.
‘Bail up! Guns down and off the horses.’
‘What do you think you...?’ Constricted by the tension in her throat her words petered out. No one would dare steal such a valuable mob of horses. They were branded. Everyone in the colony knew the Dungarven brand. To lose them was unthinkable. Years of breeding — the first pure Dungarven bloodlines. Months proving herself capable of managing the sale and the trip to Sydney. And now a hold up! It would not happen. Not if Lilibeth Dungarven had any say in the matter.
About the Author
In October, Jazz Baby, a 1920s rags to riches story set in Sydney will be released and in February, Forgotten Fragrance, Book I of a family saga entitled From the Ocean to the Outback. At the moment she is working on a parallel time-line series called The Adventures of Miss Abigail Wynter. She has also written three contemporary romances.
Grab your copy of "Matilda's Freedom" quickly, it's on sale until July 1st!
All images via Wikimedia Commons
Unless otherwise specified