How did ‘Transported’ come about? I was first introduced to Charlie Carpenter by a friend who knows I write. Charlie sought a person to document the life of his great-great-grandfather George Smith, affectionately known as ‘Dusty Bob’ around Dubbo, New South Wales where ‘Smith Street’ is named for him.

The man’s character came to life as I researched all the facts that Charlie had amassed – from George’s capture and arrest in a London shop when stealing a watch, through his trial at the Old Bailey and his sentence to life in New South Wales. Sydney Town was just fifty years old when he arrived at the age of seventeen and, with others, was sent to work at the furthest most army stockade, Wellington, having crossed the Blue Mountains on the newly completed access road.

Documents show he married an aboriginal woman and acknowledged their children, how he had amassed sufficient money to purchase land to fulfil his wildest dreams and how, in his Will, he left equal amounts of land and money to each of his children, both male and female. I fell in love with George, a man ahead of his time who overcame all odds, and decided to write a novel about him. With a name like George Smith there was no way to discover which one, of the thousands called that in England at the time, was the Dusty Bob in my book. So I invented his early life, before his arrest, and followed the true story from his trial through his rise as trusted cattleman and a guide for the explorer Charles Sturt’s expedition to how he assisted in the posse that found the killers of his friend Abraham Meers. This act secured him a Conditional Pardon – the conditions were that he couldn’t leave Australia – but now a free man, it allowed him to buy land.

There were many, many months spent in research before the book could take shape…this period in Australian history was an ever-changing one since thousands of people poured into Australia alongside George.  Each decade brought people who opened up the land and with them came skills to shape a country that became less and less reliant on England. It was a hard life and I’m pleased I wasn’t born in that period.

The book has been well reviewed and it sells in The Longreach ‘Hall of Fame’ bookshop. Wonder if  Prince Charles will buy it for his wife when they visit there this week?