IMG_5197David Levell, born in Sydney, Australia, has worked principally as a writer, book editor, television producer and journalist. His professional interests range across fields as diverse as history, travel, nature, literature, music and film.

Tour To Hell: Convict Australia’s Great Escape Myths (University of Queensland Press) by David Levell tells the true story of the strange myths of place that inspired convicts in colonial Australia to flee to the bush, hoping they would find nearby white or Asian societies that might offer sanctuary or a way home.

David’s book editing credits include My War: Life Is For Living (ABC Books), WW2 veteran Brian Walpole’s first-hand account of Australia’s secret Z Special Unit in Japanese-occupied Borneo. He was contributing writer and editor for Detective Superintendent Ron Stephenson’s Victor Chang: Murder Of A Hero (New Holland), about the killing of the famous Sydney heart surgeon. More recently David edited Sharks, The Sea & Me (Wakefield Press), the autobiography of shark conservationist/filmmaker/attack survivor/cage diver Rodney Fox.

David’s freelance articles have appeared in Reader’s Digest, The Australian, Australian Traveller, Qantas The Australian Way, The Sun Herald, The Sydney Morning Herald, Men’s Style, Australian Guitar, Fortean Times and many other publications. His published fiction has appeared in literary journals Westerly and Redoubt.

He has also produced and/or directed some twenty television documentaries on a variety of cultural and musical topics. These include Prodigies (SBS-TV), a two-part program on child musical prodigies and Puccini: Wizard Of Love (SBS-TV), about the female roles in Puccini’s operas.

David has a degree in Mass Communication & Philosophy from Macquarie University. He lives in Sydney with Josephine and their daughter Daisy.

5 Responses to “About”

  1. Jacquie Says:

    Hi David,
    My name is Jacquie Myles-Pallister; I am the grand-niece of Lena Ricketts, who featured in Brian Walpole’s book, “My War: Life is for living”. I have recently found out about this book, when digging for family history, and was able to read a copy through my local library. However, I would like to purchase a few copies for my family members and I have been unable to find stock of the book through any online bookstores.

    Would you know where I could buy some copies. It is thanks to Brian that my family exists!

    Warm regards,

  2. Jack levelle Says:

    Wow my uncle wrote good books gotta read them but i really have not meet my uncle 😛

    1. David Levell Says:

      Hi Jack! I met you at Wollongong don’t you remember (:

  3. Kim Peart Says:

    Re: Ross Bridge

    Dear David,

    I am seeking up-to-date information on the Ross Bridge, with a view to writing an article and wonder if you can help with my enquiry.

    Should the international heritage listing of the Ross Bridge be raised to a higher level?

    Has any investigation been undertaken or is any research now happening into the art of the Ross Bridge?

    Is there a new book on the Ross Bridge in preparation or set for release, as a search of the internet does not reveal any recent works?

    If anything else comes to mind concerning this most iconic colonial creation, I would be pleased to hear.

    I am particularly interested in the stone art by Daniel Herbert and how it appears that the Ross Bridge is the only one of its kind in the world, as revealed in the Engineering Landmark report included below.

    I am active in the virtual world, including Second Life and InWorldz, where I have developed and built a full-size working model of an orbital space settlement ~

    I am wondering if there may be interest in a full-size model of the Ross Bridge in the virtual world, perhaps with a recreation of part of Ross, where people from anywhere in the world could visit our heritage icon and examine the art on the bridge in detail. Once the virtual Ross Bridge had been built, any number of copies could be made, used in schools and even made available in libraries in stand alone virtual worlds.

    If this project were successful, full-size models of other heritage icons could be built, including the Kangaroo Bluff Battery with its cannons and a working train recreated, such as the Bellerive to Sorell railway.

    If anyone would like to work on the virtual world project, I would be pleased to hear from them. We could meet in the virtual world and start a ball rolling.

    Yours sincerely,

    Kim Peart

    Ross Bridge ~ Tasmania
    Nomination for an
    by The Engineering Heritage Tasmania Engineers Australia July 2006

    3.1 Origins
    The initiative to provide each of the arch stones with a deep relief carving originated with Daniel Herbert. It is most striking that, in amongst all the voluminous correspondence concerning this bridge, between the Lieutenant-Governor, the Colonial Architect/Engineer, the Superintendent of Convicts, the Inspector of Public Works, local settlers and the Superintendent of Ross, there is not any mention of these carvings. Herbert must have gained prior permission from Capt. Turner to sculpt these stones, and this permission must have been granted, at least verbally.
    Capt. Turner did not officially inform anyone of his decision. John Lee Archer must have seen this work in progress during one of his site visits, yet his diary appears to be silent on the subject. The same applies to Roderick O’Connor, the Inspector of Works. There are 186 icons, one on each of the voussoirs forming the six arches. Sculpting these stones cannot have been done in secret. One may postulate that Capt. Turner, having given Herbert permission to do this work, led a conspiracy of silence, by explaining to all concerned that the carving of these stones was the convicts’ contribution to the appearance of the bridge and was improving morale, and thus efficiency and standard of workmanship.
    An extensive review of stone arch bridges in Italy (Roman arches), and the remainder of continental Europe and UK, especially France in the 17th and 18th century, has failed to identify similar carvings. The only decorations found occasionally were carvings of coats of arms on the key stones of central spans of stone arch bridges. The bridge at Ross must be considered unique in the world in this respect.
    3.2 Significance
    a) General
    The carvings are generally Celtic symbolisms, the meaning of which has been lost, and was probably only known to their originator. They are interspersed with small icons of persons living at the time. Some of these may be seen as caricatures, although one cannot be at all certain of their intent. Some of the keystones have the clear symbolic meaning of depicting the evils of oppression.

    Click to access Ross_Bridge_nomination.pdf

    Books on the Ross Bridge

    ‘Ross Bridge and the Sculpture of Daniel Herbert’
    Leslie Greener & Norman Laird
    Fullers Bookshop 1971

    ‘Ross Bridge, Tasmania ~ Conservation Plan’
    Prepared by:
    Nigel Lewis Richard Aiken Pty Ltd
    Graeme Corney
    Graeme Nichols
    Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources, Tasmania
    August 2003

    Another historic article by Kim Peart

    ‘Susannah’s Angel’
    Tasmanian Times 4 Jan 2012

    republished as ~
    ‘The Sad Cherub of Susannah’
    Independent Australia 16 Jan 2012

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