Leaves of a Diary

Searching for Elizabeth Gould in the Archives of the Mitchell Library ‘Who was Elizabeth Gould (1804-1841), and why has her name now been elevated to equal status with that of John Gould?’ wonders Roselyn Russell (2009: 1), author of the recent biography The Business of Nature: John Gould and Australia (2011). While the taxonomist and… Continue reading Leaves of a Diary


‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith

‘Just Kids’, by Patti Smith I was first introduced to Robert Mapplethorpe when I was 19, sitting with 300 psych students making notes on week three’s ‘human sexuality’ lecture. Next to me slouched my best friend and flatmate, with whom I’d taken the previous semester’s ‘philosophy and sex’. We were both, back in then, in our different… Continue reading ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith

Essay · Fiction


1 24 March Early Wednesday morning my sister drives me to the private hospital. My name’s called in the waiting room and I’m led through double doors, shown into a small office. A vivacious nurse questions me about fasting, allergies, former operations. I’m weighed, ‘so they give you the right amount of anaesthetic,’ and handed… Continue reading Dollarbirds

Fiction · Short Fiction

The Zoological Vertebrate Laboratory

The Zoological Vertebrate Laboratory Jan listens patiently as I explain the difficulty I’m having trying to turn the body of the black-shouldered kite inside out. She digs her scalpel into a square of foam and places her large, knowing hands over the head of the juvenile bird, smoothing the russet-tipped crown feathers. ‘You’ve done a good… Continue reading The Zoological Vertebrate Laboratory


The Next Big Thing: Reboot

Ten Questions from Inga Simpson, award-winning author of Mr Wigg, Nest and Where the Trees Were.   The Interview What is the working title of your current/next book? Elizabeth Gould: A Natural History Where did the idea come from? My partner rescued a ring-neck parrot from a tennis court and a couple of bird-loving friends… Continue reading The Next Big Thing: Reboot

Fiction · Short Fiction

Golden Bowerbird

An adult male ring-tailed possum lay across the footpath, a knot of hair protruding from its anus, tail stiff with rigor mortis. Its eyes were glossy, its tongue fat and pink, fresh blood glistening along the top edge. Ingrid checked her watch. There was still time. She’d just set out and was cold, but her… Continue reading Golden Bowerbird


Biographical Sketch of Elizabeth Gould

Elizabeth Gould, 1830s, unknown artist Elizabeth Gould (nee Coxen) was born in 1804, in Ramsgate, Kent, to a military family. While little is known of her early life, at twenty-two, Elizabeth was employed as a governess, residing in James Street, London. Her young charge, Harriet Rothery, was the nine year old daughter of the chief… Continue reading Biographical Sketch of Elizabeth Gould


Elizabeth Gould: A Natural History

  On the morning of May 16, 1838, the hazy London skyline in darkness, Elizabeth Gould went into the bedroom of her daughters, Louisa, six months, and Eliza, a toddler, and kissed them in their sleep. She crept into the adjacent room to farewell her son, Charles, aged four, who in the following week would… Continue reading Elizabeth Gould: A Natural History


Small Acts of Disappearance

Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger by Fiona Wright Giramondo Publishing, 2015 Anorexia Nervosa presents as a visual drama that exceeds the boundaries of language. It fascinates and repulses, hence the Current Affairs exposés and sensationalist memoirs—Marya Hornbacher’s manic Wasted and Portia DeRossi’s Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, said to be… Continue reading Small Acts of Disappearance