A gay bushranger who was miffed that his legend was overshadowed by a thug?
It's the kind of story that Canberra author Craig Cormick can never resist.
A science communicator from way back, he's developed a penchant for explaining the world from unexpected angles.
He's already published more than 40 books, on subjects ranging from the circulatory system, pimples, Captain Cook and Douglas Mawson, in genres from science to young adult to straight out historical accounts of seminal moments in modern Australia.
His latest, A Darker Shade of Moonlite, is about one of Australia's lesser-known bushrangers, Andrew George Scott, aka Captain Moonlite, told in a contemporary voice.
While eminently readable, it's not, Cormick insists, aimed at any particular age group, although it's worth pointing out that it's published by a small press, Queer Oz Folk.
"It's replete with themes of fake news and alternative truths, gay persecution and questioning who tells history," Cormick says.
"This brings together a couple of different themes of mine. One is the voices of people who are cut out of history, whether it's Aboriginal or migrants or gay people, whatever.
"Then ways to engage with history - new ways, new narratives ... In a lot of my books, I bring people from the past, back into the present and have you talking with them.
"And the third stream is, I guess, bushrangers - the bad boys and girls of history."
Cormick's wife once suggested to him that he had an unhealthy obsession with Ned Kelly.
"Then we went down to the Beechworth Ned Kelly Festival, and she said, 'No, no, you're just keen'," he says.
Nonetheless, he has published, by his count, eight collections of short stories, each of which has a Kelly yarn within. But the great rogue is now well and truly out of his system, and the story of Captain Moonlite - the educated, refined and more mysterious figure well overshadowed by Ned Kelly - had been "circling around" in the back of his mind for years, mostly because he's comparatively little known.
Born into a protestant and educated family, he was a preacher before becoming a bank robber - rather more stylish than his loutish counterpart, in a black mask and cape (rather than the iconic black Ned Kelly helmet) - and later, a bushranger who held around 30 people hostage over a three-day period in November, 1879.
He was also, reportedly, bisexual if not gay, and went to the gallows wearing a ring made of the hair of his partner-in-crime and lover James Nesbitt, who had died in his arms after a shootout.
But, says Cormick, all this happened around six months before the Ned Kelly shootout, effectively overshadowing him in history.
"Captain Moonlite would have considered Ned Kelly a thug, because he was so different to most bushrangers," he says.
"He was highly educated - he didn't consider himself a bushranger, and the thing that appealed to me about him was that he was creating his own mythology.
"He was a completely unreliable narrator, because he wrote it all down. And he recreated his life many times. In some of the early books I found about Moonlite - there was one written in the 70s that I hunted down - half the facts in it are wrong, completely wrong. Stories like, he fought in the Civil War, and he fought with Garibaldi [in the Second Italian War of Independence] - no way!
"But that was part of his mythologising, he invented himself."
Scott - Captain Moonlite - spent the last weeks of his life before being hanged writing down the story of his life; these records were hidden away and only rediscovered around 20 years ago. But, says Cormick, so much of history comes down to whether something is recounted, written down, rewritten and retold, and how much is lost - or added - in the retelling and reshaping.
"The book questions the whole veracity of what is real and what isn't," he says.
"That's something I find a lot when I'm working with Indigenous things, big conflicts between oral histories and written histories, but that doesn't mean one's more superior than the other - written histories can get a lot of things wrong as well."
Cormick has devoted the majority of his career to communicating on as many different levels as possible, starting with science communication at CSIRO.
"I've worked with Questacon, I've worked with government departments, and it's taken me around the world - I've been to all seven continents," he says.
"When I left CSIRO, I became a consultant for five years and then I was in Africa and I was in Asia and I was everywhere. And then in the middle of lockdown, I thought, 'You know what? I think it's time to just stop'. I was able to access my pension early, and things worked out, so I was able to financially step back."
As is the way of things, he's now publishing more than ever, with three more books on the horizon.
His passion, for the moment, is history, and the fact that people seem to be losing interest.
"History has become for most people too boring, they're not engaged with it," he says.
"So in the kids books I write, I try and make them really fun. I did a series last year, What If History of Australia. And so, what if the French invaded? I play it out: Napoleon gets exiled to Melbourne and King Louis is already exiled there, and they start fighting and the British arrive. Kids who have read it say, that was fun, I've now learned a lot. And then I'll put the real history against it. And they say, 'that was such a fun way to engage with history'."
And now the gentleman bushranger is getting the same treatment, with his owns to muddle his own history.
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