Beautifully written stories on politics, social movements, photography and books

Tag John Stapleton

The Future History of Publishing

Since the beginning of literature technologies have shaped the written word. And thereby publishing technologies have shaped history, culture, politics and war. The adage history is written by the victors has transposed in this truly astonishing era into something else…. Continue Reading →

With its Dismal History in Iraq, Australia Cannot take the High Moral Ground on Ukraine

The Great City: Extract from Dark Dark Policing by John Stapleton. From Malcolm Turnbull’s first day as Prime Minister in 2015, the bombings on Iraq increased. That is, he was responsible  for killing more Muslims than any other Prime Minister… Continue Reading →

Dark Seas. Extract: Hideout in the Apocalypse.

By John Stapleton. Photography David Sandford. The spooks were easy to spot. Most Australians couldn’t afford a new iPhone, and certainly not in that part of town. Old Alex felt decidedly unsafe, packed up the apartment, both glad to be… Continue Reading →

Winter’s Back in Australia: The Photography of Dean Sewell

Snow has fallen in Sydney’s western region as an icy polar blast grips most of Australia in time for the start of winter. The strong cold front began surging through South Australia into Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland on… Continue Reading →

The Myth of Black Opal: Lightning Ridge and the Fiery Guardians of Eternal Love

The picture above was taken in 1909, at the height of the what was known as the Three Mile Rush. The bicycle polisher rigged up in the centre of this picture was being used to rub down opal. The commercial… Continue Reading →

India’s Festival of Colours

The Black and White Photography of Russell Shakespeare India’s Holi Festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil. It lasts for a night and a day and erupts in vivid display of colours across the villages, towns and cities of… Continue Reading →

The Utter Bureaucratic Insanity of Australia’s Covid Nightmare: Lest We Forget

Extract from Unfolding Catastrophe: Australia. In unbelievable, fantastical circumstance, a cold wet summer turned into an even colder winter, yet another, truly another Winter of Discontent, for all of Steinbeck’s formidable Grapes of Wrath talents would be required to document… Continue Reading →

Shearers: The Photography of Russell Shakespeare

Award winning photographer Russell Shakespeare explains the obsession: I’ve photographed shearers a lot over the years for a number of different publications. They’re an important and easily understood symbol for one of Australia’s most important industries; and there is a… Continue Reading →

The ANZAC Day Plot

Extract from Terror in Australia: Workers’ Paradise Lost. Australian governments had always appealed to nationalism in their aggressive drives to recruit young men to war. World War One posters included: “Under Which Flag Will You Live? Enlist Now”; “The Trumpet… Continue Reading →

A Time For All Time

The Day Australia Changed Forever. John Stapleton. This is an extract from the upcoming book Convoy to Canberra: The Day Australia Changed Forever. This is Chapter One. The book will be available in the coming weeks. The series so far… Continue Reading →

Grafton: Australia Lost. The Best of Our Archives.

Photography by Dean Sewell Perpetrator of the Christchurch massacre Brenton Tarrant, 29, has just been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and a charge of committing a terrorist… Continue Reading →

Australia’s Unfolding Nightmare

How It All Ends Part III Oak Flats is a working class suburb south of Wollongong on Australia’s east coast. Its demographic of tradies, electricians, plumbers, tilers, truck drivers, school teachers and nurses do not like or trust the nation’s… Continue Reading →

Murder On Lower Fort Street: Best of the Archives

With Photography by Tim Ritchie There is no more historic, more superbly located or visually rich part of Sydney than The Rocks. Tucked in under the southern flank of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, from the earliest days of the colony it… Continue Reading →

The Daughter of Siberian Shamans

Yakutsk is the coldest place on Earth. Winter temperatures plunge below minus 50 degrees Centigrade. The town of Oymyakom, in the East Siberian Depression, has recorded temperatures well below of minus 60. The indigenous tribes of this most hostile of… Continue Reading →

The Triumph of Death: Bruegel The Elder

Death triumphs over the mundane. An army of skeletons raze the Earth. All life is extinguished. The background is a barren landscape in which scenes of destruction are still taking place. In the foreground, Death leads his armies from his… Continue Reading →

Dark Seas. Extract: Hideout in the Apocalypse.

The spooks were easy to spot. Most Australians couldn’t afford a new iPhone, and certainly not in that part of town. Old Alex felt decidedly unsafe, packed up the apartment, both glad to be out of there and angry at… Continue Reading →

The Burning Ghats of Varanasi: Photography by Russell Shakespeare.

People crawl across India to die in Varanasi for one reason: according to the Hindu faith if you die there, on the edge of the sacred Ganges River, you will not be reincarnated. The cycle of life, and therefore of… Continue Reading →

Shutting Down Australia: How It All Ends Part II

Extract. “The world’s gone mad,” the old reporter said as he passed people on his morning walk. “Didn’t make any sense anyway,” comes the response. Australia is shutting down. Extreme measures introduced purportedly to stop the spread of Covid-19 are… Continue Reading →

How It All Ends: Australia Transforms. Part One.

For years the biggest story in the country has been the slow motion collapse of the Australia of old. Now, with the country only slowly stumbling out of lockdown and insane levels of social restrictions introduced without parliamentary approval in… Continue Reading →

Unfolding Catastrophe: Australia. Part Three. The Biggest Mistake In History. The Best of 2021.

If the geniuses of Australian government weren’t satisfied with all the cautionary voices emerging from some of the world’s most venerable tertiary institutions, they only had to go as far as the Australian National University, to Professor Ramesh Thakur, whose… Continue Reading →

“Biggest cyber breach in history” as techs scramble to be heard above Omicron din

By John Stapleton: Michael West Media. Australian governments and businesses have been warned they face their greatest hacking threat yet, Apache Log4j. John Stapleton reports on Australian Cyber Security Centre warnings of possible widespread systems failure. There has always been a dystopian theory that… Continue Reading →

Christmas Day: The Nightmare of Australian Family Law. The Best of 2021.

The Family Court of Australia is finally being abolished, dissolved Into the Federal Court. There Are Very Good Reasons. The misuse of expert witnesses is a problem throughout Australia’s judicial system, but no more so than in family law. Here,… Continue Reading →

Sleaze And Self-interest Everywhere: Australia 2021

Pearls and Irritations Who among us, eighteen months ago, could have believed the mess this country is now in? Few can doubt Australia is at a turning point in its history. The debacle is writ large. The current Cabinet reshuffle will please… Continue Reading →

It Could Not Have Been A More Wonderful Day. The Best of 2021.

Terror in Australia: Workers’ Paradise Lost. Extract. As a young man Alex had taken every opportunity to travel. He stayed several times at a beach on Penang island known as Batu Ferringhi. In the 1970s it was little more than… Continue Reading →

The Hanging of Christian Porter. The Best of 2021.

The devolved state of journalism at the $1.2 billion Australian Broadcasting Corporation is now on full display. The current witch hunt of the nation’s Attorney General over entirely unsubstantiated claims of an alleged rape 33 years ago, when he was… Continue Reading →

The Palace of Lies Abolished: The Best of 2021.

A dark stain on the nation’s legal, social and political history is finally being removed.  Known colloquially as the Palace of Lies, the Family Court of Australia was established in the mid-1970s, at the height of the “all men are… Continue Reading →

And So Much More. The Best of 2021.

Unfolding Catastrophe: Part III. Early in the “pandemic”, or “plandemic” as sceptics were already calling it, both mainstream and independent commentators queued to attack Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose mishandling of Covid-19 was likely to be derided by historians… Continue Reading →

Unfolding Catastrophe: Journalist John Stapleton on the Government’s COVID Response. The Best of 2021.

By Paul Gregoire: Sydney Criminal Lawyers Blog Tensions are high in the Sydney region as the population looks towards its tenth week in lockdown, without any clear understanding of when it will be coming out of the home confinement it’s… Continue Reading →

The Last Surviving Small Business in New South Wales: Village Fix. The Best of 2021.

John Stapleton. Originally published 16 September. Shellharbour is a small coastal town two hours south of Sydney. Only a few short years ago a lost in time surfing village, it is now surging ahead as young families flee the nightmare… Continue Reading →

The Carlisle Hotel: Extract from Hideout in the Apocalypse: The Best Of 2020.

Photography by Dean Sewell The Carlisle Hotel in the back streets of Newtown in Sydney’s inner-west is one of the few places left in Sydney where the wowsers have not won; an old-fashioned pub in an increasingly strictured, shuttered country. Hotels… Continue Reading →

Cockatoo Island: The Story Behind the Story

John Stapleton: The Sydney Morning Herald. It was an honour to be appear in The Sydney Morning Herald again, under a piece headlined: From the Archives, 1991. Curiously, there was a story behind this story; and of all the many… Continue Reading →

Destroying the Land of the Long Weekend: Extract Part Eight. Unfolding Catastrophe: Australia.

For Old Alex, on the cold but picturesque south coast of NSW, it was an entirely inflamed time. The Land of the Long Weekend was being destroyed. The population accepted it all as one bizarre edict after another flattened them… Continue Reading →

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