BARNES, Robert

ISBN 978-1-922803-94-8

Australia’s Forgotten Soldiers from Paraguay

A quarter of a century ago a large number of people left Australia with the idea of the founding a New Australia – a communistic paradise – in the middle of Paraguay, in South America (states The Diggers’ Gazette). The attempt was a disastrous failure, but it is interesting to learn that the half-dozen families still left of the original settlers at Colonia Cosme sent 14 volunteers to the war practically – every fit man. One was 56 years old, and others were so young when they left Australia that they could not remember it at all. And they had to travel a thousand miles, presumably at their own expense, to reach the coast at Buenos Aires. Probably this fine result was due to a survival of the influence of William Lane, the founder of the colony, who was always strongly British in sentiment, lost a son in the war, and was largely instrumental, as editor of a daily newspaper in New Zealand, in getting compulsory service adopted there.

“This book brings light to the life stories of Australian heroes who, after calling Paraguay their new home, responded to the call of duty during the First World War.”
– Armando Fernández Galté, Head of Mission, Embassy of Paraguay, Canberra

About the Author

Robert A. Barnes first travelled to Paraguay as an exchange student in 1982.

A visit to Nueva Australia and a chance meeting with one of the few remaining colonists sparked a lasting interest in William Lane’s New Australia experiment, and more specifically, the little-known stories of those New Australians who left Paraguay to fight for Britain in the Great War of 1914-1918.

After university and short career as a provincial newspaper journalist, Robert served in the Australian Regular Amy for 23 years.

This is Robert’s second book. He has previously written a historical romance novel, Asunción, set in Paraguay during the tumultuous period between 1922 to 1947.

Robert is married to Misook and they live with their kelpie Max in Cooma, New South Wales.


ISBN 978-1-922803-05-4


A dramatic, true story from 100 years ago that resonates today, showcasing Hope and Heart in times of Hardship, for readers of every age, time and place.

When young farmer, Wilf Fritsch and his mates leave Australia in 1914, to study in Germany, they have no idea of the catastrophe ahead. Their plans are thwarted when World War 1 erupts. Stranded, arrested and imprisoned, they wonder if they will survive the war and ever make it home again. In a treacherous and unpredictable world, friendships form in surprising places, while culture, hope and purpose survive in desolate environments. Their story reveals astonishing aspects of the times, overlooked by history. However, it is the development of the lads into men of character and integrity, and the beguiling array of people they meet, that will enchant all readers. Bound together in brotherly bonds, their remarkable journey of joy and sorrow, horror and humour, spans 6 years and 5 countries, illuminating the power of perseverance and faith.

About the Author

Heidi McLeod resides in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband. A teaching career of over 40 years, three daughters and a foster son, a large extended family, many friends, and her grandchildren have nurtured her fascination in the human journey. In her first book, Heidi traces a portion of her grandfather’s life in the style of a novel. Sourced from diaries, letters, journals, and other primary sources, as well as stories heard first-hand, Heidi provides a compelling, heart-warming narrative. Skilfully crafted with original material, song lyrics of the times and an engaging style, Heidi’s recounting of her grandfather’s experiences is a tribute to all civilians who endured the non-military story of WW1.



ISBN 978-1-922722-10-2

No Ordinary Life

No Ordinary Life tells the story of a young couple’s experience of World War II and its influence on their lives. It’s a story of love and its resilience during extraordinarily difficult times, the time before, during and just after World War II. Their participation took them from war-torn Glasgow and the battlefields in France, North Africa and a small Greek Island in the Aegean, to life in a German POW Camp and a timber camp in the Highlands of Scotland. When the war finally ended, they left Scotland as ‘Ten Pound Poms’ and established a new life in Australia, far away from memories that were best left behind. This book is as much about the times in which they lived as it is about them.

About the Author

Anne is a retired science teacher who started her working life as a medical scientist. She followed a passion to become a teacher and taught Science in the western suburbs of Sydney before taking up a position at a large independent school in the city where she taught for thirty years. Retirement brought time to write, first about her children and the remarkable journey they shared in The Gift of Adoption, and then about her parents in her new book, No Ordinary Life. ‘My parents’ lives were ordinary for the time, but the times in which they lived their young lives were anything but ordinary. They weren’t the heroes of war recorded in history books, but they were heroic; they were part of the backbone on which victory was built. Although their story wasn’t unusual for the time, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be told.’



ISBN 978-1-922527-50-9

From Here They Marched


The camp, opened in bare paddocks in early 1915 after earlier camps had proved inadequate, overcame significant early difficulties to become what was proudly claimed to be ‘the model camp for the Commonwealth’.

From Here They Marched tells the story of the camp and how men from all walks of civilian life were brought together and prepared for the discipline of military life and for war.

It shows how the military authorities approached the task of also meeting the physical and social needs of as many as 4400 men at a time, all newly away from their home and families, and facing an uncertain future.

The surviving memories of those who passed through the camp, newspaper reports, the few remaining documents from the camp, and contemporary photographs are used to bring this vibrant, ever changing community of men to life.

The part played by other military training camps in and near Adelaide which were used for short periods during the war is also described. This includes the Morphettville and Ascot Park/Oaklands camps where the men of the earliest contingents did their training before taking part in the landings at Gallipoli.

Mitcham camp is an important part of the historic landscape of Adelaide, and the final chapter presents a case for the preservation of the memory of the camp in Colonel Light Gardens.