Sources and Historical Accuracy

Bringing Australia's History to Life

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The main written accounts of Joe Flick’s outlaw days, which stretched roughly from March 1888 to November 1889, are by contemporaries Charlie Gaunt, William Linklater, and Frank Hann. They all conflict with each other, and there is no one true account that fits all the facts. I’ve used hundreds of newspaper articles, birth, marriage and death certificates and police records to put this story together.

In general, I’ve used Charlie Gaunt’s version of this story as a starting point. Those who’ve read Whistler’s Bones will understand that I spent a long time working with his recollections, and his facts did check out, most of the time. The exception to this is when Billy Linklater or Frank Hann were actually present in a section of the story (which they were) I’ve overridden Charlie’s memories in favour of theirs. Charlie too, features in the story, a section that he wrote about so vividly, if briefly, when Joe rode into Creswell Creek where Charlie was working.

The only completely fictional character in the story is Robert, the anthropologist. I chose him as the narrator so as to bring a sensitive side to the story. All the other characters existed.

Please remember that this fiction based on fact. My primary goal is to bring this story to life. I’ve invented dialogue, minor situations, physical descriptions. If any major errors do turn up, let me know so I can fix them long before this becomes a printed book down the track.

When that happens, I hope to also print many excerpts from my research into this amazing, terrible, tragic and strangely inspiring story.

Thanks for reading.