Friday, February 23, 2024

❀New Historical Fiction Book Alert❀: The Dreaming Team by Chris Wallace

Title: The Dreaming Team
Author: Chris Wallace
Publisher: Round Lake Publishing
Pages: 368
Genre: Historical Fiction

In the 1850s, Australia was a thriving colony of the British Empire, with its own sense of importance and sophistication.  But the people who had occupied this vast land for upwards of 40,000 years didn’t fit well with colonial expectations of the future.  In every way imaginable, white Australia tried to keep its “darkies” in line. It is against this backdrop in the 1860s that the amazing story of an all Aboriginal cricket team, the first Aussie team to do so, played at Lords, the home of cricket in England.  Conventional wisdom predicted that Indigenous Australians would die off by the next generation. The Dreaming Team brings those Indigenous players to life and follows them on an adventure that would appear to be unbelievable if it weren’t true.  They not only changed the minds and perceptions about Aboriginal Australians, they arguably changed the course of Australian history.  Praise for The Dreaming Team: “A beautiful story, beautifully written, about a piece of Australian history that, if you don’t know about, you probably should. Heartwarming, heartbreaking and brimming with relevance for today’s Australia. A poignant example of how far we’ve come and how far we haven’t.” “The Dreaming Team tells the true story of the all Aboriginal cricket team from Victoria who did a tour of Great Britain back in the 1860s and all the drama, setbacks, and cultural divide between the Aboriginals and white Australians involved. Considering the state of affairs for Aboriginal people in those days, the team’s accomplishments are no small feat!” “What an interesting story. It is truly an Australian story about indigenous Australians. The story grabbed me from the first chapter, and drew me further in to where I could not put it down. I don’t want to give anything away, so I will say that the twists and turns makes you want to know what happens next at the end of each chapter. To say it is a sports story is not fair, it is a people story, told from the heart, about the hearts of people who love the land, and their story. I recommend it highly, and look forward to more from the author, Chris Wallace!”

You can purchase your copy at Amazon.  

Book Excerpt

Mr. Buckingham has asked Black Johnny to come into the shearing shed.  They stand together, both uncomfortable for different reasons.  Unaarrimin wonders if he’s done something wrong.  He has always tried to be a good worker.  Never complained about anything.  Was happy just to be there on the station  What could he have done?  In the very back of his mind, he wonders if it has anything to do with Alice but dismisses the thought as soon as it comes.  Mr. Buckingham is uncomfortable because he doesn’t like confrontation.  And especially this one.  He is perfectly happy with Black Johnny, finds him easy going, cooperative and good at his job.  It’s only because of his wife that he is in this position.  After a few more awkward minutes, Buckingham clears his throat and begins.  “You know . . . Um . . . You see . . . If it was up to me . . . Well . . . Er . . . The Missus has a bit of ah . . . Oh, damn it, I’m going to have to let you go.  That’s the size of it.  You’ll have to leave the property.  I’ve arranged some provisions for you, tea and sugar, salt, a blanket, a billy, matches, a good knife.  But you’ll have to go.”  Unaarrimin can only look at this man dumbfounded; this man who has been his guardian since he was orphaned as a little boy.  “What have I done?” Unaarrimin asks.  “Well, that’s just it, you see.  It isn’t that you’ve done anything.  It’s more like . . . um . . . look, Johnny, let’s just leave it that the Missus would rather you weren’t here anymore.  Like I said, if it was up to me, we wouldn’t be having this talk.  But you’ve got to go.  Here, take this letter with you.  It’ll help you get a job somewhere else.  But she wants you off the property tomorrow.  Early.”

Alice and Unaarrimin had been inseparable when they were children.  She claimed him.  She taught him to read.  As she learned them, she taught him manners.  They hiked all over Mullagh Station together.  He taught her how to live in the bush, showing her what plants were edible; how to make bread, how to build a proper fire.  They got into all manner of mischief together, stealing honey from Mrs. Buckingham’s cupboard and tobacco from Mr. Buckingham’s pouch.  One time Unaarrimin twisted his ankle jumping from the roof of the shed because Alice dared him.  When they saw that he was alright, they rolled on the ground together in fits of laughter.  He remembers how infectious Alice’s laugh is.  It’s like a melody, like music to him.  He would always do anything to make her laugh.  And she always did.  One day he was teaching her how to throw a boomerang.  “Hold it like this,’ he says.  “Throw from the shoulder”.  Alice cranks her arm for a mighty toss and cracks Unaarrimin in the nose.  She starts laughing her magical laugh.  Even when it starts bleeding, she’s still laughing.  And by now, he is laughing  too.  Alice takes a handkerchief from her pocket and begins dabbing the blood.  Then she gives it to him so he can apply enough pressure to stop the bleeding.  All the while they are laughing uncontrollably.

But there is no laughter now.  Now, he is filled with sadness as he empties the remains of the billy onto the fire and rolls up his swag.  Where is he to go?  What is he to do?  He ambles away from the billabong, no longer conscious of freedom, but thinking of what he has lost, wondering if he’ll ever see her again.

About the Author

Chris Wallace is a creative resource.  

As an actor, he was a regular on the hit daytime drama, All My Children, created the role of The Half-Percenter in Joe Papp’s production, Mondongo, appeared in countless television programs, including The Incredible Hulk, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour and had a starring role in the holiday horror classic film, New Year’s Evil.  

As a producer, he put on New York: A Great Place to Live at Lincoln Center which kicked off New York City’s Diamond Jubilee; for Channel Five in New York, he produced the highly acclaimed Harlem Cultural Festival; at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, he produced Uptown Sunday Afternoon, which was hosted by Harry Belafonte and featured Richard Pryor, Bill Withers, and a galaxy of other performers; for the National Organization for Women, he produced A Valentine’s Day Tribute to Woman at New York’s Town Hall;  was associate producer of the first Ali-Frazier Heavyweight Championship Fight at Madison Square Garden, and produced the gigantic block party, hosted by Gwen Verdon, which named West 46th Street as Restaurant Row. .

He earned the Silver Award at the New York International Film and Television Festival for In the Balance, a film that advocated sustainability and common sense in wildlife management.  It was also singled out by the Department of the Interior as one of the best films of its kind.  Chris wrote, narrated and wrote the musical score for that film.

He performed on several children’s television programs in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Jacksonville, singing his original children’s songs.  In Hollywood, he performed them for all denominations of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.  He created a musical, A Special Thing to Be, at the Los Angeles Children’s Museum that featured his kids’ songs and the museum’s children’s chorus.

He wrote the songs for two children’s theatre productions in Hollywood, Hooray, Here Comes the Circus and Sleeping Beauty; wrote and performed the songs on Strong Kids, Safe Kids, a video produced by Henry Winkler for Paramount that dealt with the protection of children from sexual molestation and exploitation.  He created his first musical revue, Greatest Hits, in Hollywood, which played several venues, including Carlos ‘n’ Charlie’s on Sunset Strip and The Backlot in West Hollywood.

Upon relocating to Australia, he produced A Helping Hand at the Victorian Arts Centre, a benefit for Quadriplegic Hand Foundation; wrote book, music and lyrics for Nothing to Wear, a musical based on “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” also produced at the Victorian Arts Centre.  He created a one-man show, A Thing of Shreds & Patches, for the Melbourne Fringe Festival; created another one-man show, The Mark Twain You Don’t Know, which toured Australia, then Pacific Palisades, California, and played in New York City on the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain’s death.  He created several cabaret shows for The Butterfly Club in Melbourne, most notable of which was Les Femmes which featured an all female cast.  He wrote, produced and performed in Huckleberry: A Musical Adventure which premiered in Melbourne.

Which brings us to The Dreaming Team.  This is his second book.  The first, Hollywood Mosaic is written under the pen name, Pete Joseph.

You can visit his website at 

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