RED CENTRE, DARK HEART - Evan McHugh
This book is absolutely fascinating. In a series of chapters based on each crime - starting with the escape of convicts in Tasmania in 1822, right through to the disappearance of Peter Falconio in the Northern Territory in 2001, the author has explored a series of notorious crimes - all of which took place in various locations throughout the bush and remote Australian outback.
Starting out with the escape and subsequent cannibalism of a group of convicts in Tasmania in 1822, we then learn how cattle rustling in 1870 is more successful when you are in an area so remote that it's almost totally unknown. From there to Victoria and the late 1870's - to the time and activities of one of our most famous bushrangers, Ned Kelly. In a more sobering tale, in the early 1900's racism and cruelty led to a violent spree when Jimmy Governor finally had enough and took revenge. In 1940 a mining worker disappeared and it was pure hard work that meant that the police solved that crime and a little later in the 1940's Alice Springs was very much a frontier town when it was rocked by a series of bombs. In 1968 Larry Boy proved that Aboriginal bush skills were extremely formidable as they still were when local Aboriginal people were called in to help in the search for Azaria Chamberlain in 1980. From there it's 1989 and a series of backpacker disappearances that leads to a shocking discovery in the Australian bush, with the book finishing in 2001 with the disappearance of Peter Falconio from the roadside in the middle of the Australian outback.
The great thing about each of this individual chapters is that they are told in a very non-sensational, matter of fact way, that gives the reader a real understanding of the events without the ooh aaa factor that you often get from newspaper accounts (I'm thinking in particular of the story of the death of Azaria Chamberlain here!) Anybody who is interested in some of the real crime stories of Australia over many years will find this book most instructive.
A JOURNEY INTO AUSTRALIA'S LAWLESS PLACE HEART OF-DARKNESS – A LONELY, WHERE EVIL EXISTS AND CRIMES CAN GO UNNOTICED.
The Australian outback is a vast landscape of extraordinary magnificence. But it is also a notorious crime scene. Some of the most shocking and fascinating crimes in our history have been committed in its harsh surrounds.
Red Centre, Dark Heart explores baffling murders, mysterious vanishing acts and intense manhunts in remote Australia, beginning with the nefarious convict and cannibal Alexander Pearce, and ending with the chilling murders of innocent young backpackers on lonely back roads.
From infamous incidents like the disappearance of Peter Falconio to the lesser known but no less disturbing cases of Bill Groves and Larry Boy, these true-crime stories remind us how the Australian outback gained its sinister reputation – and how, through history, the worst aspects of human nature have revealed themselves in its unforgiving environment.