history3 cover

Matt, Ben, Nicky and Kris are four friends living in the small town of Coolongawong in New South Wales. They have just finished primary school and spent the last two years in Mr. Mac’s class. They discovered at the beginning of Year 5 that Mr. Mac’s classroom was a magic one and by tripping on a creaky floorboard, crashing into the teacher’s desk and saying the magic words History’s a Mystery, they could be transported back in time and discover history as it is being made in exciting, and sometimes dangerous, adventures.

Now they must leave the magic classroom behind as they begin high school in Orange. However, Mr. Mac has given them hope that their magic adventures may continue. Together they visit Scotland and Sydney before realising that their adventures cannot continue.

Matt decides to invite his younger sister, Olivia, along on an adventure to the Klondike Gold Rush in Alaska. This, in turn, leads to her including her friends Grace, Will and Jack. Together, these four discover the wonders of Mr. Mac’s magic classroom and visit many new places together including the Warsaw Ghetto, China’s Terracotta Army, the airship Hindenburg, the Incas, the Taj Mahal and Stonehenge, with many other places in between.

Mr. Mac’s love of teaching history provides some of the destinations the four friends choose to visit. Others are the choice of the children. In this third book in the series, they continue to meet some of history’s most famous heroes, and are present at some of history’s most crucial times.

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ISBN:   978-1-921919-57-2 
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 178
Genre: Fiction
/Young Adult

Cover: Clive Dalkins

By the same author:

History's a Mystery

History's a Mystery Again



Author: Dell Brand
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2012
Language: English


 Author Profile 

Dell Brand grew up in Sydney, attending North Sydney Girls High School, Sydney University and the University of Wollongong. She taught in state high schools during her working life, teaching Physical and Health Education. She was recognised with the Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Outstanding Achievement in Education Award from the Australian College of Education.  

She has always had a keen interest in children with challenging behaviours, and worked for a number of years with a wilderness-enhanced program aimed at turning around young people’s lives. This formed the basis of her PhD. As a teacher in this program, she involved herself in many of her recreational passions including abseiling, rock-climbing, wilderness trekking, canyoning and canoeing.  In recent years, she has developed a particular interest in family history and history in general. 

Dell was also a freelance journalist who contributed regularly to four Australian magazines and frequently to newspapers. Now she concentrates on writing full time. She uses her own travel experiences both from home and abroad to write first-hand about places she has seen and people she has met. Some of these places find their way into her books. 

Dell loves the outdoors, especially the wilderness. In her younger years she was a keen swimmer and an A grade squash player. She now enjoys all outdoor pursuits and tries to play golf regularly.  She is married with two grown-up children and lives on the south coast of New South Wales.  

This is her third children’s book.

Chapter 1:

New Starts



It was hot. The January school holidays were always hot, especially if you lived in Coolongewong, a little town in mid-western New South Wales. However, the holidays had not been boring, at least not for the four friends and their families. There had been plenty going on, what with Christmas, a wedding, holidays away and the excitement of starting high school.

The four friends were Matt, Nicky, Ben and Kris. They had just finished Year 6 at Coolongewong Primary School with Mr Mac. He was the absolute legend teacher in their school and they had been in his class for the last two years.

“I want to go to Scotland and meet Braveheart,” announced Ben after a brief hello when they met down by the river.

“Who is Braveheart when he’s at home?” asked Kris. She had never heard of him.

“I saw the movie in the holidays,” he explained. “His real name was William Wallace and he was a big-time Scottish hero who fought against the English.”

“Didn’t Mel Gibson star in the movie?” chipped in Matt.

“Yep, that’s right,” answered Ben. “Did you see the movie, Matt?”

“No, but I want to. Is that okay with you girls if we go there? I think I’d like that adventure.”

The girls said it was.

At the start of Year 5, they had discovered that, on the day of the new moon each month, they could go on the most amazing adventures back in time in Mr Mac’s magic classroom. Accidentally, they had discovered that by tripping on a creaky floorboard, crashing into the teacher’s desk and saying the magic words History’s a Mystery, they could go back and experience events in history as they were actually happening.

“What do you reckon was our best adventure last year, Matt?” asked Kris.

“Oh! That’s a hard one! They were all so good… Let me think…”

“I can tell you mine,” said Ben. Then, not waiting for anyone else to speak, he continued: “I liked the dinosaurs and the cavemen the best.”

“Yeah, they were pretty good,” agreed Matt. “But I think I enjoyed meeting Sir Edmund Hillary on Mt Everest and Ned Kelly. Oh, and Davy Crockett.”

“What about you, Nicky?” Kris asked.

“My favourites were probably the Eiffel Tower and meeting Charles Darwin,” she answered. “How about you, Kris? What did you like best?”

“Um…maybe the Vikings and the Aztecs… I don’t know. They’re all so good.”

“Isn’t it weird how we all liked different adventures?” observed Matt.

“Yeah, but that’s good,” said Kris. “It just goes to show that between us we chose a good mix.”

The others agreed.

“Well, it looks like we might be able to have a few more adventures this year, thanks to Mr Mac’s suggestion,” said Nicky.

“If it works,” added Ben.

Mr Mac had suggested that they come back to his classroom after school on the day of the new moon (the only day the magic worked) every month, and see if their adventures could continue. This idea had pleased the four friends very much. No one, including Mr Mac, knew if this would work, but it was sure worth giving it a shot. The four friends would do practically anything to have more adventures back in time.

Therefore, although primary school had ended, they were looking forward to a number of things.

“What about you, Matt? What’s your first choice for this year?” Nicky asked.

“My choice is a lot closer to home. I’d like to go back and see the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.”

Ben looked at his friend and frowned. “Why?”

“Because I think it would be good,” answered Matt. “It’s an Australian icon and I figure it would be cool to be there when it was first opened.”

“I agree,” said Kris. “It sounds like a nice, safe adventure and one where we will learn a bit more about our own history. It’s a good idea, Matt.”

Nicky nodded, so Ben had to go along. However, he wasn’t really worried. All their adventures were good and they had just agreed to his Braveheart idea.

“What’s your adventure to be, Kris?” Ben asked.

“I would like to go back and see the Great Wall of China being built.”

“Yes! Way to go! That would be heaps cool!” This adventure sounded much more like fun to Ben.

“Good, Kris,” said Matt. “And Nicky, what about you?”

“My choice is closer to home as well,” Nicky answered. “I would like to see Cathy Freeman win her gold medal at the Sydney Olympics.”

Kris looked at her and frowned. “That’s not very far back in time. Do you think that it will be possible?”

Nicky shrugged. “I don’t know. But I’d like to try.”

The others were not sure whether Nicky’s choice would be possible either. However, they agreed to give it a go.

“Maybe you should think up a back-up just in case it doesn’t work,” suggested Matt.

Nicky agreed to this, so the first four adventures of the year were set. After the four of them played a few games of Scissors, Paper and Rock it was decided that Ben’s adventure would be the first.

At the start of the holidays, Matt had gone to Brisbane with his mum and dad and his two younger sisters, Olivia and Megan. This was where his grandparents lived and they always went up to see them at Christmas time.

Kris spent Christmas with her dad, his new wife Jo and their baby daughter, Amelie, in Sydney. Kris had always longed for a brother or sister and so loved having a baby sister at last. She and Jo had become good friends and Kris just adored Amelie, who everyone called Milly.

Both Matt and Kris’ families were back in Coolongewong in time for the big wedding. Nicky’s dad was marrying Ben’s mum. Paul and Linda had started seeing each other about a year ago and things quickly developed between them. Nicky liked to take a little of the credit for this, as she believed she planned the matchmaking. However, it probably would have happened anyway. Paul and Linda were really well suited and very much in love. And this couldn’t have pleased Ben and Nicky more. Ben and Nicky were best mates. So to have their parents get married was just perfect. Now they would all live together and be a real family.

When Matt and Kris had arrived back in Coolongewong, the four friends had agreed to meet together down by the river. Matt and Kris were the first to arrive and this suited Kris. There was something she wanted to say, and she decided to do it as soon as she had Matt alone. They were sitting together in the long grass beside the river, comfortable in each other’s company, when Kris began.

“Matt,” she said.

Matt looked at her expectantly.

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking while I’ve been in Sydney, so I just have to say it. I really don’t want to be your actual girlfriend anymore.”

Matt’s face fell and he looked devastated. Then Kris went on, “But you’re my best friend and I want to keep it that way. I love spending time with you and talking to you about all sorts of things… I just don’t feel I’m ready for anything more than that just yet.”

Matt nodded. After a while he said, “I kinda feel the same way, Kris. I like you more than any other girl I know. I can talk to you about all sorts of things. But I’m happy just to stay as good friends, too.”

Then, with that difficult conversation out of the way, they started talking about something much easier: more adventures back in time. Soon Ben and Nicky joined them.

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