In this volume: The Silver City:  Broken Hill in the early 1900s was a hell on earth. Idriess draws on his childhood experiences there to evocatively describe what life was like: Flies and dust and isolation, the deadening feeling that no-one else in the world knew or cared whether we lived or died out there…typhoid, pneumonia, dysentery and lead poisoning…so did the dirty brown water, so frightfully expensive, that in drought time came rumbling up in water trains from South Australia.  He also  conveys an acute sense of his distress at the despoilation of the natural world by wave after wave of settlers. Lightning Ridge: Idriess almost died  he almost died in the typhoid epidemic that killed his mother and he was sent to his grandmother in Sydney.He found work on a paddle-steamer on the run to Newcastle. After a typhoid fever relapse he  worked in the western districts of New South Wales in various jobs. Then the call of opals drew him – like so many other young men – to Lightning Ridge in about 1910 and although he did not strike it rich, he wrote short pieces for The Bulletin about life on the opal fields. The Desert Column: One of Idriess’ earliest works, published in 1932 and based on the diaries that he kept throughout the war.  driess served as a sniper with the 5th Australian Light Horse. Enlisting in 1914, he began his diary, As we crowded the decks off Gallipoli and he continued writing until returning to Australia. The diaries cover his experiences of life in the trenches at Gallipoli to the battles at Romani and Beersheba.