Stephen Dando-CollinsStephen is the award-winning international author of 26 books about the history of Australia, Britain, France, America and ancient Rome. With a literary agent in New York, he is published in Australia, the US, UK, and numerous foreign languages, from Spanish (he has 4 publishers in Spain alone), to Korean. His latest book about Roman history, Legions of Rome, was a New Statesman Book of the Week in the UK. Described as ‘a very fine historian’ by Phillip Adams of ABC radio’s Late Night Live, and as ‘a gifted storyteller’ by the Weekly Independent, Stephen is a full-time author who uses his research know-how as the former national head of a market research company as he delves into the past lives of the many real people he writes about. Historical and genealogical research, he says, is, for him, half the fun of writing a book, and is often like a treasure hunt. Many is the time he has unearthed literary gold in his researches, which have taken him all around the world.

For Unlock the Past, Stephen will be talking about several of his Australian-based books, delivering research case studies in which you’ll learn of the fascinating twists, turns and discoveries that his historical detective work produces. Books such as 2011’s highly acclaimed Crack Hardy. Described by Professor Ross Fitzgerald in the Sydney Morning Herald as ‘a fine and important book,’ and by Melbourne’s Weekly Times as ‘the most remarkable, most human, and most fragile record of the birth of the Anzac,’ this book tells the gripping true story of Stephen’s great-uncles during the First World War. Stephen will also be talking about the research journey for his 2009 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award-winner Pasteur’s Gambit, the thrilling tale of French microbiologist Louis Pasteur’s attempts to wipe out Australia’s rabbit plague. He will also be discussing his next book on Australian history, Mistaken Identity – in researching the life of Joe Windred, one-time Mayor of Orange, NSW, Stephen stumbled on the amazing, previously untold story of Joe’s constant battle with mistaken identity, which saw Joe wrongly convicted of identical crimes in Sydney and San Francisco, and nearly had him lynched. On our 2013 cruise, Stephen will additionally be chairing a panel discussion with other leading speakers, to reveal how they’ve all turned their genealogical research outcomes into successful books.

Stephen is a member of numerous literary organisations, including the Historical Writers Association of the UK. A highly experienced, entertaining and fascinating speaker, he regularly gives talks and lectures about the subjects of his books, from the Academy of Science in Canberra to Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, from National Public Radio in the US to Provence in the South of France. See Stephen’s web site for more.

Unlock the Past cruises – 3rd


  • Crack Hardy
  • Mistaken Identity
  • Pasteur’s Gambit
  • Legions of Rome