There were few bushrangers whose influence extended as far as that of Frank Gardiner. Handsome, clever, charismatic and dangerous, he inspired many young men to abandon the drudgery of their honest work and turn to highway robbery. So strong was his influence that it set in motion a craze known as “Gardinerism”. Gardiner was the leader of the infamous Gold Escort robbery at Eugowra Rocks; he was the one who almost “got away” with the crime. escaping to Queensland and running a successful public house until his eventual, controversial arrest. Such was the man’s charm and influence that respectable citizens petitioned successfully on his behalf and Gardiner was released early from gaol amid a storm of controversy. This book outlines the life of Frank Gardiner, his descent into crime and the mystery of his final years in exile.
Author and librarian Jane Smith has a passion for Australian history and bushrangers in particular. With thirteen books on the subject published since 2014, and with titles receiving award nominations in the ABIA and CBCA awards and glowing reviews nationally it appears that Jane’s fascination with Australian history is shared by children, parents and teachers alike!
In 2015 Captain Thunderbolt from her much loved Australian Bushranger series was shortlisted in the 2015 ABIA Awards. Shoot-out from the Rock the first in her new series, Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy, followed suit as a 2017 CBCA Book of the Year notable. The books teach younger readers about the colourful lives of our bushranging legends and the times they lived in. Her meticulous research offers an insight that goes beyond the surface into the personalities of her ‘characters’ and debunks a few well-known myths and ‘facts’ along the way.
Jane’s clever and entertaining series has been written with not only a flare for fun and reader engagement but also with the Australian National Curriculum in mind. The seventh book in the Tommy Bell series was released in February 2019.