In the third book in the exciting Grave Tales series, journalists Helen Goltz and Chris Adams unearth Sydney’s interesting tales.

Join them for a walk through some of Sydney’s oldest cemeteries to get an insight into the incredible lives of relatively unknown Australians. Using gravestones as their starting points they have meticulously researched a curated selection of headstones to uncover the secrets of the past.

Some highlights include –

  • The story of Henry O’Farrell, our first would-be assassin – who in 1868 had tried to kill Queen Victoria’s son. He failed, but was nonetheless executed with indecent haste, despite the fact he had long been suffering from a mental breakdown.
  • The story of the tragic deaths of all but one of the 122 passengers of the Dunbar, which crashed and sank as it pulled into Sydney Heads, right at the end of its long journey from London. The sole survivor, James Johnson was found two days later, clinging to the rock ledges of The Gap amidst the debris of body parts in the sea below.
  • The unremarkable grave of Patrick Brady does little to reflect his life as an expert forger, or his close links to the Coogee Shark Arm Murders of 1935 which gripped the country and remain unsolved today.

Also featuring detailed reflections on more well-known Australians such as Juanita Nielsen, Dorothea Mackellar and Arthur Stace, the book paints an incredible picture of Sydney’s past.

Grave Tales: Sydney features those people who were often unwilling participants in the events that would shape our history and that made local and national headlines at the time. Thoroughly researched by journalists Helen Goltz and Chris Adams, who between them have years of experience in newspapers, radio and TV, the book has uncovered hundreds of primary resources which help re-create the lives of those whose graves they have featured.

Also in the Grave Tales series are books on Grave Tales: Brisbane, Grave Tales: Great Ocean Road Country – Geelong to Port Fairy and out in 2018 with the support of the Queensland State Government through Arts Queensland, Grave Tales:the Bruce Highway.


Journalists, Helen Goltz and Chris Adams have between them spent many decades in the print and electronic media working for network television,  radio, and state and community newspapers. With a joint love of history, digging for a good story and storytelling, they have collaborated to create a series of books that brings our history to life again.

Connect: read more on the Grave Tales website. Connect with the authors on the Grave Tales Facebook page.

BUY THE BOOK: purchase the paperback now for $25 inc. postage in Australia from the Grave Tales shop; or purchase the paperback or e-book from the sellers listed in our Bookshop.


BOOK INFORMATION – available in paperback and ebook
ISBN: 978-0-9943762-2-0

Format: paperback and audio book.
Pages: 300pp
Publication date: May 2018.
Category: Non-fiction, Australiana, history, modern history.
Atlas Productions