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This is the story about a personal journey that started with a diagnosis of colorectal cancer while I was training to run a marathon, involved lots of treatment, many complications, a long period of rehabilitation, much love and support, a considerable number of learnings and personal growth and finally no cancer. The book starts with running a marathon with cancer and finishes with running a marathon without cancer.

A few days before I was to run a marathon I was advised that I had colorectal cancer, that it was large, had been there for some time and needed to be removed as soon as possible. This was a shock because I was extremely healthy and very fit, having spent three months training to run a marathon. I hadn’t had a sick day from work in 20 years and had been a runner for 30 years. My diagnosis was not only a surprise but also a blow to my ego.

The book examines the impact that this diagnosis had and takes the reader through what unfolded as the treatment began and then as complications arose. For example just when it looked like the treatment had finished problems arose because of the radiotherapy and further surgery was required. Unfortunately during the surgery I contracted septicaemia, which led to a near death experience, more surgery, two months in hospital (including two weeks in intensive care) and other complications (pneumonia, infections and liver problems). I finally left hospital weighing 52kg, unable to walk without help and needing lots of support. A long process of rehabilitation started at that point.

Having been a runner for 30 years there is a running theme throughout the book. I share my concern about the impact this might have on my ability to run again and I have included some stories of my attempts to get back into running during the treatment. For example I tell about starting back running during my period of chemotherapy to regain some fitness and distract myself from and assist with the side effects of the chemotherapy. This happened during a period of five weeks when I was receiving a continuous infusion of chemotherapy. To be able to run I had to carry a black box in one hand, which contained the chemotherapy and was connected to my chest by a tube in order to deliver a dose at predetermined intervals. This must have looked rather strange to those people I encountered.

Friends and friendships, what they meant and how they grew, are an important part in the story.

The second part of the book deals in some detail with some very important questions:

  • Why did I get cancer;

  • Why did I survive; and

  • What did I learn?

As T.S Elliot said: “We had the experience but missed the meaning”. It took me sometime to explore these important questions, to write about them and share my insights and conclusions.

The last chapter in the book looks at life after the experiences that I had with cancer and the application of what I learnt as I moved on to life without cancer.




The objective is to explain, describe and evoke wonder about those people who chose to leave family and friends forever and sail half way around the world in a small vessel in order to emigrate to a remote place they had little knowledge about. In order to tell this story the reader needs to know what it was like in the colonies, how the home and colonial governments felt about emigration/immigration, what was involved in emigrating, the reasons why people emigrated, who decided to emigrate, what the emigrant vessels were like, what the emigrants experienced on this long sea passage and the experience on arrival.


Research and Resources Utilised

Researched and written over a period of some eight years the book draws on a large number of original and old documents, manuscripts, monographs, letters, journals, diaries, ships logs and newspaper articles and a considerable amount of old and contemporary published material found in a number of the major Australian Libraries. The research work included investigating the vast amount of material copied onto microfilm as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project by the National Library of Australia and the State Library of NSW.


The book includes many quotations from letters, diaries, newspaper articles and old documents to illustrate points and bring a nineteenth century perspective. The use of personal stories also adds interest and reality for the reader.



There are over 40 illustrations in the book, which were carefully selected to complement the description of nineteenth century emigration to the Australian colonies.



The book is divided into 8 chapters:


  • Early Arrivals

  • The Emigration Debate

  • Deciding to Emigrate

  • Those Who Came

  • The Emigrant Vessels and Their Crew

  • Preparation and Embarkation

  • Passage to the Colonies

  • Arriving


It also contains two appendices and a bibliography:

  • Calendar of Key Nineteenth
    Century Events; and

  • Glossary of Terms.


This book tells the story of a passage by some 260 emigrants to colonial South Australia in 1850 on board a square-rigged vessel called the Stag. It incorporates the transcribed diary of one of the steerage class passengers Francis C Taylor and gives a vivid insight into shipboard life on the long and difficult passage.


The book provides information about:

  • a typical passage to the Australian colonies onboard a square rigged sailing vessel, particularly the conditions experienced by steerage class passengers;

  • the Stag, including her history;

  • Adelaide in the 1850’s, including what the Stag passengers would have found on arrival (state of development, politics, employment opportunities, wages).

There are some nice watercolour illustrations by seaman Alexander Weynton, who made several passages on the Stag.


For many novice and even some experienced runners completing the 42.2 kilometres involved in running a marathon seems daunting and too difficult to contemplate. For those who have run a half marathon the thought of running two half marathons back to back may seem impossible. However this short book has been written to demonstrate that most runners can complete a marathon and then it provides the information about how to go about preparing for the event, running the marathon and recovering.


The book includes advice about:


  • the long run;

  • speed work;

  • stretching;

  • food;

  • clothing and shoes;

  • injuries (prevention and treatment);

  • hydration;

  • the taper;

  • tactics;

  • the race day; and

  • recovery.


It also has a proposed three-month training program with day-by-day advice.


British history, particularly British Imperial history, includes the movement of people from Britain to other parts of the world. For many this was a move as emigrants seeking a new life in another country.

At various times during the late seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there was considerable movement from Britain to other countries. In the late seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the movement was mainly to North America. However from about 1830 there was considerable interest in emigration to the Australian colonies, supported for the first time by various British government and colonial programs of assisted passage.

With all these movements there were risks for the individuals involved. These risks were largely associated with the sea voyages in small sailing vessels that this movement required. In the case of emigration to the Australian colonies this necessitated a journey half way around the world.

In this book the author looks at events and conditions in the United Kingdom, including those that may have contributed to the decision by many to emigrate to the colonies and may have forced desperate people to commit crime and be sent as convicts to the colonies. The book also looks at conditions in the colonies in the nineteenth century and the pioneering activity of early settlers. In exploring these matters the author uses some members of the Limbrick family to demonstrate the convict processes particularly in Van Diemens Land and pioneering activity in colonial Victoria.

(Note: This book is currently out of print and is being revised. The second edition is expected to be available in the middle of the year).

A Church With No Walls

This is a fascinating history about a different type of church. It tells the story of the South Woden parish of the Uniting Church in Canberra, Australia over the past 50 years (1967-2017)

Author Doug Limbrick was asked to write the history of this church to coincide with the. 50-year celebrations planned for 2017. The history was written in collaboration with parishioners John Cope and Libby Coates.

There are a number of things that mark this parish as different to most other churches including:

  • Being established as a united parish encompassing people from the then existing Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches. This happened some 10 years before the Uniting Church in Australia was formed from these three churches.

  • The people of the parish decided soon after establishment that they would not allocate resources to develop church buildings but would instead use parish resources (money and people) to support community and international activities.

  • The history describes a long list of projects and activities initiated or supported by the parish over 50 years. Some of these activities were very significant, such as the development of a hospice.

  • The parish from the outset was marked by a close involvement of the people of the parish in leadership. This leadership seems to have increased during the 50 years of the parish and includes leadership in all aspects of parish activities including in leading worship.

  • The people of the parish have done lots of things together which created many opportunities for friendships and close bonds between the individuals and families of the parish.  It’s clear that the people of the parish enjoyed having fun together. Hence social activities, including dinners, picnics and camping were high on the parish agenda.


Copies of the book are available direct from the South Woden Uniting Church parish or by email

Book no.1
Book no.2
Book no.3
Book no.4
Book no.5
Book no.6
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