Portrait photograph with caption: 'Martin Brennan, Ex Senior Superintendent
Has dedication: These reminiscences of many years in New South Wales are dedicated to my dear daughter, Sarah Octavia Brennan, M. A., B. Sc., who encouraged me to place on record some stories of my adventures in the land of her birth, which she intensely loves. Martin Brennan, Ex Senior Superintendent of Police.'
Preface by Martin Brennan, pp. 5 - 7
Brennan relates the sad tale of Elisha Goldstein, a beautiful woman who travelled to Australia following what she believed was a betrayal by her fiancé. While visiting the Major's Creek goldfield she meets and weds Rufus Lambert, only to discover herself trapped in an abusive and bigamous marriage. Although Brennan tries to help her he is unable to prevent her tragic end.
While travelling by ship to Sydney, Brennan meets George Greenland, who is also planning to join the police force. Dorothea, the woman he loves, has travelled to Australia ahead of him. However, he discovers she has apparently broken her promise to him and married another man. Broken-hearted, Greenland falls ill and dies. After his death Dorothea arrives at the hotel and Greenland's fatal mistake is revealed. Brennan finishes this piece with an account of his experiences at Araluen in 1868. He also meets Dorothea again. She has remained faithful to her promise to Greenland and regards herself as his widow. Dorothea is the means by which Brennan unmasks a clever imposter.
After being revived from a drunken stupor, former criminal Carl Sleichman is convinced he has been returned from the dead and is destined to become a prophet. He teams up with a local religious fanatic, Rasch, and begins preaching. However, his blasphemous doctrines outrage the local populace. A Catholic priest takes over the service and afterwards Sleichman and Rasch discuss religious doctrine with him, declaring themselves convinced they were wrong. Unbeknownst to them they are also the means of restoring a child to her parents.
Brennan theorises on the racial origins of Aboriginal Australians and outlines European contact by Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish ships in the 1600s, including the wreck of the Batavia in 1628. He deplores the brutal and unjustifiable treatment of the indigenous peoples following the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, and relates a series of massacres that occurred from Tasmania to Queensland. Brennan had extensive contact with Aborigines and learnt several dialects. He vigorously defends Aboriginal people against the derogatory claims made about them and their culture by early writers, and was active in petitioning for land for an Aboriginal family group who came to him for assistance.