Samuel Shumack’s autobiography written in the late twenties and first published in 1967, gives us an account of rural living in the Canberra district before federation. It offers detailed accounts of his recollections and conversations with other locals. There are a lot of tales about crimes, how people died and where they are buried. I liked how he comments on peoples honesty, their work and sobriety. He was naming and shaming way before the internet. He did have the good manners to wait decades before he “posted”.
Its a great coffee table book you can pick up and randomly read interesting local legends. Some ring true today. Visiting Qeanbeyan was often fatal, strange going-ons in Charnwood, property owners with money. “Media” bribes, its got the lot.
If you are interested in Canberra’s history this is a book to track down. I found my copy at the Curtin Second hand Bookshop for $28. It is published by Australian National Press Canberra.