How the mighty clipper ships transformed Australia from convict outpost to a nation. The story of the Clipper ships, and the tens of thousands of migrants they bought to the Australian colony of the nineteenth century, is one of the world's great migration stories. For anyone who travelled to Australia before 1850, it was a long and arduous journey that could take as much as four months. With the arrival of the clipper ships, and favourable winds, the journey from England could be done in a little over half this time. It was a revolution in travel that made the clipper ships the jet airlines of their day, bringing keen and willing migrants 'down under' in record time, all hell-bent on making their fortune in Australia.Rob Mundle is back on the water, with a ripping story that starts on the sea, aboard a clipper ship charging across the Southern Ocean, laden with passengers heading for Melbourne in response to the lure of gold. Brimming with countless stories of the magnificent ships and fearless (and feckless) characters we find on them, like Englishman "Bully" Forbes and American "Bully" Waterman driving their ships to the limit and the tragic legacy of the many shipwrecks that were so much a part of this era.More info →
How Dutch sailors discovered New Holland and left Australia to a British pirate. For many, the colonial story of Australia starts with Captain Cook's discovery of the east coast in 1770, but it was some 164 years before his historic voyage that European mariners began their romance with the immensity of the Australian continent. Between 1606 and 1688, while the British had their hands full with the Gunpowder Plot and the English Civil War, it was highly skilled Dutch seafarers who, by design, chance or shipwreck, discovered and mapped the majority of the vast, unknown waters and land masses in the Indian and Southern Oceans. This is the setting that sees Rob Mundle back on the water with another sweeping and powerful account of Australian maritime history. It is the story of 17th-century European mariners - sailors, adventurers and explorers - who became transfixed by the idea of the existence of a Great South Land: 'Terra Australis Incognita'. Rob takes you aboard the tiny ship, Duyfken, in 1606 when Dutch navigator and explorer, Willem Janszoon, and his 20-man crew became the first Europeans to discover Australia on the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria. In the decades that followed, more Dutch mariners, like Hartog, Tasman, and Janszoon (for a second time), discovered and mapped the majority of the coast of what would become Australia. Yet, incredibly, the Dutch made no effort to lay claim to it, or establish any settlements. This process began with British explorer and former pirate William Dampier on the west coast in 1688, and by the time Captain Cook arrived in 1770, all that was to be done was chart the east coast and claim what the Dutch had discovered.More info →
The First Fleet - the creation of a nation.
Rob Mundle, bestselling maritime biographer of Bligh, Flinders and Cook, is back on the ocean to tell one of the great stories of expedition under sail: the extraordinary eight-month, 17,000-nautical-mile voyage of the First Fleet.
With customary sweep and swell, Mundle puts you alongside 48-year-old Captain Arthur Phillip on the quarterdeck of the Royal Navy escort HMS Sirius, as he commands his small armada of eleven ships, carrying over 1400 men, women and children, to the other side of the world.
At the heart of Mundle's story of the First Fleet is the extraordinary seamanship of the masters and their crews in their day-to-day workings on individual ships, battling all that nature could throw at them - from disastrous conditions to disease - in order to fulfil the grand plans and strategic visions of politicians and authorities. To arrive in Sydney Cove in January 1788 with all ships intact and such a low loss of life is a tribute to Phillip, his officers and crews, and to the wherewithal and brilliance of eighteenth-century seamanship.More info →
Matthew Flinders was the first to circumnavigate and chart the treacherous Terra Australis coastline he is the man who put Australia on the map.
Flinders brings to life the fascinating story of this exceptional maritime explorer from the drama of epic voyages and devastating shipwrecks; his part in the naming of Australia; his cruel imprisonment by the French on Mauritius for six long and harrowing years; the heartbreaking separation from his beloved wife; and the comfort he got from his loyal cat, Trim; to his tragic death at just forty, before ever seeing the publication of his life's work.
Flinders is a true hero whose name is forever woven into the fabric of Australian history.
This is a gripping adventure biography in the style of the bestselling Bligh: Master Mariner.More info →
From Sailor to Legend - the story of Captain James Cook Captain James Cook is one of the greatest maritime explorers of all time. Written with colour, sweep and the authority of Robert Mundle's five decades as a competitive sailor, maritime journalist and broadcaster, this extensively researched new biography of Cook will put you on the quarterdeck with the great navigator as he painstakingly guides his ship through dangerous, reef-strewn waters. You will also be alongside the captain when his ship is a wave-width away from annihilation; and at the helm, when he calls for the anchor to be weighed and his men to heave hard on the lines, and at the start of an exciting new voyage. Robert Mundle is also the author of Flinders and Bligh.More info →