Welcome to my Smashwords profile.
I am a New Zealand-born writer, based in Sydney. My main interests are nature and history.
My thesis was on the negotiations between the British and Chinese governments over the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997. It was used as a source in Dr John Wong’s Deadly Dreams: Opium, Imperialism and the Arrow War (1856-1860) in China, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998, the standard work on that conflict.
I wrote a column on the natural history of the Wolli Creek Valley for the Earlwood News (sadly, now defunct) between 1992 and 1998.
My short biography of the leading Australian ornithologist, Alfred North (1855-1917), was published in 1998.
I write regular reviews on books about history for my blog,’ Justin Cahill Reviews’ and Booktopia. I’m also a regular contributor to the Sydney Morning Herald's 'Heckler' column.
My current projects include completing the first history of European settlement in Australia and New Zealand told from the perspective of ordinary people and a study of the extinction of Sydney’s native birds.
After much thought, I decided to make my work available on Smashwords. Australia and New Zealand both have reasonably healthy print publishing industries. But, like it or not, the future lies with digital publishing.
So I’m grateful to Mark Coker for having the vision to establish Smashwords and for the opportunity to distribute my work on it.
Where to find Justin Cahill online
Notes from a Small Valley A Natural History of Wolli Creek I Prehistory
This is part one of an introduction to the natural history of Sydney's Wolli Creek Valley. The Valley contains the last substantial remnants of the natural environment in the city's inner south-west. Part I, ‘Prehistory’, gives an account of the Valley’s geological history, its fossil record and human occupation before 1788.
The Johnston and Hamilton Families of Crear: A Memoir of Two Argyll Families
Bessie Johnston, my great-grandmother, came from Crear in Argyll, not far from the Mull of Kintyre. When she came to New Zealand as a war bride, almost all contact with her family in Scotland was lost. Bessie's family cut her off and she died, tragically young, in 1922. For almost 80 years, the Johnston connection remained a mystery. This is how it was solved.
Introducing the Birds of Wolli Creek
This is a short, up-to-date account to the birds found along Wolli Creek, the last substantial remnant of the natural environment in Sydney's inner south-west. It is written for those new to the Valley and interested in its natural history.
Birds of Western Wolli Creek: A case study in local extinction
This is a study of the birds found in the western part of the Wolli Creek Valley, about 8km from Sydney's CDB.
It also serves as a case study of the increasing localised extinction of native birds in Sydney. This development, which has received little media attention, mirrors broader loss of native birds across south-eastern Australia.
Alfred John North: In Justice and Fairness to Myself
Alfred John North was one of Australia's pioneer ornithologists. He was the author of Nests and Eggs of Birds Found Breeding in Australia and Tasmania (1901-1914), which remains a standard reference work today. While often maligned by his critics, the discovery of North's diary and private papers show him to have been a scientist of the highest calibre.
Romance of the Three Rivers
A big city lawyer, Mark seems to have it all. But the money and prestige can no longer hide his disillusion with practice. With Kate, his new love interest, he escapes to New Zealand’s famous Routeburn Track. There, he sets out on a new life - with help from some unexpected friends.