The History Books

In just one generation Brisbane has changed beyond recognition; it has grown from country town to vibrant modern metropolis. Yet it had a tough start. Until the last decade of the 20th Century it was a blue collar town, struggling under the weight of its history. Prior to European settlement – as Meanjin – it was a busy meeting place for the many indigenous clans in the Moreton Bay region.

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Almost 200 years ago newly-named Brisbane had an inauspicious start as a penal settlement poorly run by veterans of the Napoleonic Wars. It became a separate state with the less financial support from London than any other colony in the mighty British Empire. Almost a century later is was briefly the Allied Forces headquarters for the Pacific War, delighting and depressing its citizens in equal measure. Then it had to fight off corruption in high places before it could realise its great potential. There was some intrigue along the way. Early Brisbane society was enlivened by its own aristocratic Lady Di; a gruesome murder started a dynasty; the Battle of Brisbane was hushed-up to maintain morale; and the local ‘Rat Pack’ played a rather different Joke.

I arrived in Brisbane just as it started to take off, and had a bit part in its development. In this book I explore key moments in the city’s rich history. 

To order click on this link: Meanjin to Brisvegas: snapshots of Brisbane’s journey from Colonial Backwater to New World City  or the ebook edition


Stock exchanges were crucial in developing Australia by greasing the often-creaking wheels of investment. Their spluttering into life in the 1880s was fractious and disorganized, but fledgling stockbrokers couldn’t ignore the need for marketplaces to trade stocks and shares in the burgeoning mining industry.

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They struggled through the great economic distress of the Federation Drought in the 1890s and emerged as coherent, collegiate markets based in state capitals that endured for 80 years. Globalisation and technology disrupted the stock exchanges, forcing them to amalgamated and then become public company itself. Now global banks using technology to dominate the modern era. Dark pools and high frequency trading have the ASX scrambling to stay relevant. Yet it still holds some aces: transparent pricing guides and the scaffolding to support a range of investment products. The book reviews the often turbulent history of what has become the ASX, highlighting the contribution of key individuals and events.

To order click on this link: Bull Market: The rise and eclipse of Australian Stock Exchanges or The ebook edition