Judy in disguise – not with glasses but with a tough covering layer of western Queensland blacksoil and 65 millions years of geological changes.

She’s the latest sauropod unearthed by the Australian Age of Dinosaurs team.

Read all about their fascinating work and how to go about joining them on a volunteer dig in my story in a recent Weekend Australian

 

Sea turtles – they outlasted the dinosaurs, but how will they fare against us? Habitat destruction, pollution, climate change, overfishing… we’re giving them plenty of existential crises.

Readers-Digest-International-July-2017In this month’s Reader’s Digest (July 17), my cover story shows how Queensland-based scientists and volunteers have been working to give sea turtles a future.

Meet Bev and Nev McLachlan, who have been on tireless turtle patrol at Wreck Rock Beach since 1977.

Marvel at the amazing discoveries made by Dr Col Limpus, Australia’s leading turtle scientist, responsible for the longest and most thorough program of turtle study ever conducted.

And have a peek at Townsville’s terrific Turtle Hospital at Reef HQ Aquarium.

Read all about it!

IMGP9376

Nemo, Reef HQ Turtle Hospital

IMGP9342

Nev & Bev, Turtle Monitors

 

To shell and back – tagging turtles in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park…

IMGP9645

To bee or not to bee in the Tasmanian wild west – and finding it quite a lark to mosey down Tasmania’s whisky trail

IMG_3269IMG_3996IMG_3188

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting into both kinds of music at south-east Queensland’s CMC Rocks Festival…

These stories and more coming soon in reputable and august publications near YOU! Stay tuned…

December’s edition of Reader’s Digest – out now – includes my feature article on snorkelling with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef – click the link for an online version at the Reader’s Digest website.

Ningaloo Reef is not only one of the planet’s most spectacular coral reef systems, it’s one of the few places where these huge, highly unusual sharks can be reliably encountered.

Photo22_28a

Whale shark filter feeling just below the surface, Ningaloo Reef, WA. Photo by David Levell.

Mightily chuffed and honoured to have my supernatural/historical short story SHARK’S ISLAND swim into this year’s THE YELLOW BOOKE, the annual collection of “original horror, ghost stories and weird fiction” from US-based Oldstyle Press. Shark’s Island (pages 123-132) transports you to the wildest outer limits of Australia’s convict past. Follow the link to read The Yellow Booke (vol iv) free online, or buy a print copy from Amazon at an Amazingly good price.

the-yellow-book-volume-4
As well as putting out the annual Yellow Booke, Oldstyle Press publishes handsomely illustrated and annotated editions representing many of the great masters of classic weird and supernatural fiction – Poe, Shelley, Blackwood, Stoker, Bierce, Dickens, James, RLS and more. Well worth sinking your teeth into!

I have a weird interest in tracing the Australian colloquialism ‘Buckley’s chance’ (i.e virtually no chance), mainly because it has been plausibly linked to the remarkable 19th-century convict escapee William Buckley to whom I devote a chapter in my book Tour To Hell.tourhellbookcover

William Buckley

The Trove online newspaper archive continues to claw back the history of ‘Buckley’s chance’. The first time I checked Trove the earliest printed mention of the saying was 1894. Then a mention from ’92 appeared, then ’88, but now the earliest is from 1887. It’s interesting to note that all of these mentions appear in sporting contexts – yachting, horse racing and now Aussie Rules football, almost a decade before the launch of what is now the AFL (Australian Football League).

Anyhow, to quote the 22 September 1887 issue of Melbourne Punch

In our sporting columns, in the Fitzroy team appears the name of Bracken. It should have been BUCKLEY. “Olympus” explains that he altered it because he didn’t want the Fitzroy men to have “Buckley’s chance”.

Three more points of interest (apart from noting Carlton won that year – belated congratulations): Firstly, it’s clear from the context that ‘Buckley’s Chance’ is already a well-known cliché. Secondly, its early appearance in a Melbourne paper strengthens the case for a Melbourne origin (likely a combination of Buckley’s survival and a pun on the Melbourne department store Buckley & Nunn). Thirdly, our current government’s mindless axing of the Trove budget gives us Buckley’s of finding those earlier mentions now.

The Great Barrier Reef is without doubt one of the most mind-swimmingly superlative travel destinations of our modest blue planet, and two of my favourite spots there are Heron Island and Lady Elliot Island. Here’s a travel story I did for the Sunday ‘Escape’ supplement which somehow escaped being plugged by me here, until now:

GBR001.Heron Island starfish.Levell