Novel inspired by region

FORMER Beerburrum resident Peter Long called upon childhood memories trucking timber through Landsborough with his father when writing his first novel ‘Steve Hart: The Last Kelly Standing’, to be released this month.

“Dad, a timber contractor, would often stop at the Landsborough or Beerwah hotel with his crew after knock-off and I have the main character visit the Mellum Hotel as a key link in the novel,” he said.

His novel examines the colourful life of bushranger Steve Hart and the legend that he and Ned Kelly’s brother Dan, survived the fatal siege at Glenrowan in Victoria in 1880, and fled to live in Queensland.

They first worked on the Palmer River gold fields in northern Queensland, subsequently joining Harry Readford (bushranger Captain Starlight) on his epic droving trips, from Mareeba to Dubbo and from Cooper’s Creek out to the Barkly Tablelands.

The novel traverses Queensland, describing the countryside, the development and political issues of the time as the boys struggle to survive.

They live for a period on the Barkly, before finally settling in the South Burnett.

“I fell in love with regional Queensland through travelling and working with the government and was convinced someone should write about stories that abound,” Peter said.

“The legend of Steve Hart and Dan Kelly captured my attention because the many reported sightings appeared so convincing and the prospect of a police cover-up over the killings at the siege of Glenrowan so plausible.

“One of the reported sightings was in Landsborough, which brings forth the nostalgic connection. If this was America, they would have turned it into a Hollywood movie years ago.”

Peter uncovered some of the material for his book when he was researching the life of his great grandfather, Larry Cummins, a notorious New South Wales bushranger who had remained a family secret until recent times.

The novel is available from all good bookstores or you can order from the publisher  at