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When ordinary people are caught up in extraordinary events, their stories and lesson should not be forgotten, lest we are condemned to repeat them! Meet the people who were often unwilling participants in the events that made headlines. Journalists Helen Goltz and Chris Adams have taken a walk through some of Australia’s most fascinating cemeteries to get an insight into the incredible lives of personalities that may have lived in the same suburbs, streets, and even the same houses as exist now.

Using gravestones as their starting points some highlights include:

Grave Tales Brisbane Vol. 1 visits five Brisbane cemeteries and features people who may have lived in the same suburbs, streets, and even the same houses as exist now, or unexpectantly came to rest in a Brisbane cemetery. Meet the train driver who died on the Samford Range with 14 of his passengers; the working girl who caught the Pearl ferry and perished in the river; the Jack the Ripper suspect who had 20 wives, mostly all at once; the only woman ever hanged in Queensland; a boxer who should have been world champ but was a victim of the race card; a soldier who wanted to die with Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant; and more.

Grave Tales: Great Ocean Road Country – Geelong to Port Fairy visits established cemeteries and burial places off-the-beaten-track that lie between Geelong and Port Fairy. Meet the ladies of the lighthouse who led an isolated life; the unionist shot in an affray; the stage actor whose career ended too soon; the men who sighted the fabled Mahogany Ship; the two survivors of a shipwreck that everyone wanted to see married, but it wasn’t to be; the inventor of the Ute and what inspired his unusual design; and the lady who rests in a ‘donated’ isolated beach grave.

Grave Tales: Sydney visits cemeteries around this vibrant city to find some exceptional characters, victims, forgotten stars and heroes – the vicitims of Australia’s own ‘Titanic’ disaster – the Dunbar; the mysterious shark arm murder that remains unsolved; actress Maggie Oliver who died a premature death; the inspiration for Charles Dickens’s Miss Havisham; crusader for the ‘little’ people Juanita Nielsen; Australian legend Ben Lexcen who had such humble beginnings and Mr Eternity, Arthur Stace, to name a few.

Grave Tales: Bruce Highway, produced with the support of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, will venture into beautiful North Queensland to meet some amazing Australian including two nurses—Cecelia and Rose Wiles—in Maryborough in 1905 who gave their lives to save a town from an outbreak of pneumonic plague; Jose, the migrant who created his dream—Paronella Park—and shared it with generations; Mary Watson and her child who drifted at sea for eight days in a water tank; and we’ll tell you how gold fever changed life into the north; to name but a few stories. Out October 2018.


Journalists, Helen Goltz and Chris Adams have between them spent many decades in the print and electronic media working for network television,  radio, and state and community newspapers. With a joint love of history, digging for a good story and storytelling, they have collaborated to create a series of books that brings our history to life again.

Connect with the authors on the Grave Tales Facebook page.

Buy the paperback book or a gift card from the Grave Tales shop or the book and ebook from Amazon.

BOOK INFORMATION – available in paperback and ebook
RRP: $25 inc postage in Australia only, if purchased directly from the Grave Tales shop. Also available from Amazon (postage cost determined by Amazon).
Trade paperback and ebook
Pages: 298pp approximately
Publication date: 2017 – 2018.
Category: Non-fiction, Australiana, history, modern history.
Atlas Productions