Drew Rooke is a freelance journalist, writer and the author of One Last Spin: The Power and Peril of the Pokies (Scribe, 2018) and A Witness of Fact: The Peculiar Case of Chief Forensic Pathologist Colin Manock (Scribe, 2022), which was shortlisted for the 2022 Ned Kelly Award for Best True Crime Writing. He was a 2021 Walkley Our Watch Fellow.
Into the void
Non-fictionI think with a little fear, as I often do, of the many other (and much larger) creatures whose natural territory this is, and scan the surrounding water for any dark, fast-moving shadows. But soon I relax and settle into the rhythm of my freestyle stroke. Breathe. Pull. Pull. Pull. Breathe. Pull. Pull. Pull. Breathe.
Upping the ante
Non-fictionAs it turned out, Centrebet’s move online – coupled with the many other betting innovations it pioneered – led exactly to where Daffy hoped it would: a prodigious pot of gold. He says the company went from taking ‘fifty or sixty bets in one day’ to taking ‘five or 600,000 bets on a Saturday night from all over the world’. By the turn of the millennium, its annual turnover was in excess of $100 million and it had become – in the words of Piers Morgan, its then general manager – ‘one of the leading sports betting organisations in Australia, if not the world’.
A subantarctic sentinel
ReportageIt didn’t take long for this knowledge to spread wider – and for Macquarie Island to become an open-air slaughterhouse. By December 1810, another three Sydney-based sealing gangs were operating there and, within the first eighteen months of operation, roughly 120,000 fur seals had been killed for their fine pelts.