Frederick Halpern was born of Austrian and Polish parents and arrived in Australia in the 1950s. He received his education in Vienna and Paris, before leaving for Egypt in 1926 on the first of many safaris throughout East and Central Africa. In 1936 during the Italian-Abyssinian war he was arrested by the Italian military on the Abyssinian border, for helping refugees over into the Sudan. At the outbreak of World War II he attempted to enlist in the British army but because of his nationality and former associations, and suspected association with the Haganah (later to become the Jewish Defence Force), he was deported to Kenya and Uganda, and interned with suspected Fascists and Nazis, though himself a Jew. In 1946 he was arrested by Iraki gendarmes in a remote part of Kurdistan, charged with being an agitator and condemned to death; only intervention by the British authorities saw his release. After his arrival in Australia he worked as a self-employed artist, explorer and writer. His writing reflects his experiences of over fifty years of travelling into remote parts of the world, sometimes into political and ethnically turbulent areas.