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Australian Backyard Explorer Paperback – 21 September 2021

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Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09GZBS1QL
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Independently published (21 September 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 180 pages
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8481595085
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.24 x 1.09 x 22.86 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    5.0 out of 5 stars 1 rating

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Peter Macinnis turned to writing after his promising career as a chiaroscuro player was tragically cut short by a caravaggio crash during the Trompe L'Oeil endurance race. He recently did remarkably well in the early rounds of the celebrity underwater cooking program, Moister Chef, but he was disqualified for using dried fruits and desiccated coconut. He has a pet slug which has lived in a jar on his desk for the last six months, as part of another book, and he is an expert echidna handler and ant lion wrangler. He wrote both the score and the libretto for the acclaimed opera Manon Troppo (‘Manon Goes Mad’).

OK, most of that is total fiction, but the wildlife bits are true: I DO handle echidnas when necessary, and I am expert in managing ant lions (the slug has since been released into the wild). I live in Australia, but I travel a lot, mainly gathering ideas for new books, and in the last couple of years, I have been on glaciers and inside a volcano (I collect volcanoes, you see). I also spend a lot of time in libraries, and sometimes in the field, because my two main areas are history and science.

I have learned the hard way to choose my locations: one book that came out a few years back needed some stuff on tardigrades ("water bears") and one easy way to catch them is to use a small hand-held vacuum cleaner to grab them from trees — these are very tiny, about 0.4mm long if they are big, so effectively invisible.

I live on a main road, and one day, without thinking too hard, I wandered out and started vacuuming a tree. It worked, but I'm afraid I got some odd looks, some of them from drivers who should have been watching the road better.

I write for both adults and children, though I seem to get more awards for the stuff I write for children.

Current interests:


The history of Australia up to 1950, science, rocks, wee beasties, odd inventions and quack cures, plus any temporary obsessions that take a grip on me.

I also work as a volunteer gardener, for want of a better term, in a local sanctuary, where we do bush regeneration, weeding, erosion control and other stuff like that.

In my spare time, I am the 'visiting scientist' under a CSIRO scheme at Manly Vale Public School: I have four grandchildren, but two are too far away, and the other two are too young to run around, just yet, so the Manly Vale kids are my stand-in grandchildren.

Current work, 2018 version:


* this year, I produced a fourth edition of 'The Big Book of Australian History' which was released in 2019;

* my 'Australian Backyard Earth Scientist' is now out, has won one award and is long-listed for a "major";

* I recently completed a book on survival: it is a guide for staying alive in Australia, due to come out 1 April 2020, through the National Library of Australia;

* I am clearing my backburner items into Kindle e-books: quite a few are up and more will follow: they all have titles starting 'Not Your Usual...';

* I have just published a rather amusing comedy/mystery/fantasy novel as both an e-book and an Amazon paperback;

* I am currently pitching two works, one on microscopy and one on STEAM (that's STEM with Arts added);

* I have recently written an article on poisons in Tudor society, and that will probably be expanded to a 'nutshell book'.

Other stuff:


I am active on social media, either under my own name, or using the handle McManly.

I have a blog, but there is no RSS feed. I have worked with computers since 1963, but I'm a bit too busy writing to stay up to speed. Find it at

My website:

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