In 2008, Paul Terry and two television cameraman friends decided to film and record the first-ever archaeological excavation of the Kelly Gang siege site at Glenrowan. As a result, the trio was invited to work on a television documentary (Ned Kelly Uncovered, Renegade Films, ABC1) presented by Tony Robinson of Time Team and Blackadder fame. This remarkable opportunity to see the layers of history being peeled back on the most important 'corner block' in Australia, led Paul Terry to write his first book, The True Story of Ned Kelly's Last Stand (Allen and Unwin 2012).
This book revisited the life of Ned Kelly as seen through the eyes of the people who were trapped inside the Glenrowan Inn when the armour-clad Kelly shot his way into Australian history in June, 1880. The dig uncovered fragments of lives, providing poignant links to the people who lived and died during the bloody hours of the Glenrowan siege. Broken pottery shards, long-lost jewellery, forgotten children's toys and, of course, dozens of spent bullets and cartridges combined to create a new picture of an extraordinary event. For Terry, a chance to hold these items as they emerged from the earth after almost 130 years was a moving experience – and one that inspired him to investigate the stories behind the Kelly legend.
Soon after the book's release, Terry was fortunate enough to view a cache of rarely-seen documents that shed new light on the story of another, lesser-known bushranger – Andrew George Scott, aka Captain Moonlite. Terry was captivated by Moonlite's adventurous, vainglorious life but soon discovered that his true story had been largely lost to myth and misinformation. Terry delved into Scott's adventures, meeting descendants of those whose lives he touched as well as visiting some of the places where he committed his remarkable deeds. It soon became apparent that the real story of Captain Moonlite was even more astounding than the fiction.
The result was In Search of Captain Moonlite (Allen and Unwin, August 2013). This is the story of a gun-toting man of God who was (perhaps falsely) accused of a spectacular bank robbery and wrapped up a life of crime at the end of a rope. Said to be a lunatic, he could not convince the doctors of the day that he was anything but sane. He was a warrior who never shed blood, a gaol escapee who took to the road to reform the brutal prison system and a brilliant but flawed genius whose misadventures culminated in a savage gun battle with police at a tiny NSW farm. And more than 100 years after his death, Moonlite's last wish – to be buried with his slain male lover – was finally granted. For Paul Terry, the opportunity to investigate this lovable rogue was a privilege – and lots of fun as well.
In his 'day job', Terry is a journalist who has worked in newspapers, radio, television and on-line journalism for almost 30 years. For the past 17 years he has been the news editor at Prime Television in Albury-Wodonga. Paul loves the border and north east and in summer time he can often be seen fishing (usually unsuccessfully) for trout in local streams. He is married to Kim and they have three children. He is now working on his next book for Allen and Unwin.