5-star Review by Diana Sobolewski - Top Canadian author:

By Amazon Customer on February 27, 2018

Fourteen year old Gunnedah 'Gunnie' Danson inherits a manuscript written by his great-great-great grandfather. As he's reading about Smokey 'Gun' Danson's adventure when he was exactly the same age, Gunnie takes us along for the ride.

Award-winning Australian author Clancy Tucker tells two stories at once going seamlessly between drought-ravaged Australia in 1910 and modern-day Australia where farmers also face hardships due to drought. And Mr. Tucker involves the reader with the lives of the two boys simultaneously.

Tasked with a job that would normally have been undertaken by older 'drovers' Smokey moves cattle away from his homestead Wiralee Station to a destination many towns away with only his trusty dogs, a pack-horse and the horse he rides. Along the way he learns the value of his animals, to trust his instincts, and the meaning of friendship. In the process, he is introduced to Aboriginal 'bush magic' for food and medicine. Smokey's journey is fraught with danger; the terrain, the elements, wild life and some unscrupulous characters. But the young man finds his inner strength and shoulders his burden well to surpass the expectations of family, friends and his love interest Molly.

With a selfless act and guided by a true sense of what is the right thing to do, Smokey is rewarded for his good deed and recognized for the hero that he is. That in turn allows him to repay some kindnesses and ensure that his family's land and homestead withstand the threat of drought in the future, and that the family business thrives for generations to come.

Gunnie reading Smokey's detailed account from Wiralee Station, the exact place his great-great-great grandfather had been so passionate about, comes to share in that passion. When Wiralee is under threat once more, Gunnie vows to protect it and Smokey reaches out from the past to help.

Gunnedah Hero is about perseverance, respect, generosity and believing in yourself; woven into a delightful, heartwarming, hopeful tale that is just plain fun to read. The author infuses the story with 'Aussie' expressions and vivid descriptions that really bring it to life and give it that sense of time and place.

I think this book is classroom-worthy. I would also encourage adults to read it and to get it for the young people in the family. What a wonderful way to encourage young people to read and bring about some great discussion.

Love ya work Mr. Clancy Tucker and I'll be reading the sequel 'A Drover's Blanket' next!

I thought Gunnedah Hero was an amazing Australian family farming story.  I'm a third gen farmer with two of our children very keen and able at taking the farm to the next level.

Your writing style is inspiring to family farming of today in many aspects. The Drovers Blanket, just continues this on beautifully.

We all go through similar situations you write.

I'm curious of your background, as you must have some insight into this.

'Love ya Work'. Keep it up.

  Wayne Caldow, Edenhope, Vic

Clancy Tucker,

              I have just read two of your books.  Gunnedah Hero and A Drover’s Blanket.  FANTASTIC!  I couldn’t put them down, I read the Gunnedah Hero first as suggested when I looked at them first on Amazon.

Thank you for the enjoyment.  Is there a follow up?

I’m now looking at Sheeza and Kick- Ass Tyler.  I’m not sure which other ones.  I really like the Australian settings.

Anyhow! Thanks once again for the enjoyment.

Kindest Regards,

Neil Grimley (GRIM), Queensland, Australia.

4-Star review by Elsie Waghorn
Excellent story of the can't put down variety. As an Aussie, tales of life on the "long paddock" drives are very popular, especially those of us who lived during the times they took place. Tough young Aussie youth did their families proud and we should remember those great times on the drove and. The youngsters who grew into men on the drove.

 5-Star review

A gripping read told through the eyes of a young boy. Have great difficulty putting it down, almost at end and trying to delay the end.

5-Star review by TD
This was a great book. I couldn't put it down.

 5-Star review

Very good book....

4-Star review by John Grant

 Good read

5-Star Amazon review by noted Australian poet, Vicki Case.

A Golden Story & Incredible Read

Australian author - Clancy Tucker has struck gold again with Gunnedah Hero. Once again Clancy takes us on an emotional roller-coaster ride of emotions. Only in Gunnedah Hero, you find yourself riding the big-dipper throughout most of it.

After a crippling snake bite Smokey Danson is sent out onto the long paddock with a small herd of cattle; to save them from certain death from the drought; & the farm from losing their valuable asset - the cattle. This task is made even more difficult because young Smokey is only 14 years-old.

Gunnedah Hero tells his tale; conjointly with Smokey's 14 year old great-great grandson reading his journal. It’s an amazing story of courage; heartbreak; friendship & fulfilled promises. Young Gunnedah (or Gunnie as he is known) has no idea of why he is bequeathed the journal; nor of the path its ownership would ultimately lead him but, much like his ancestor, he is up for the challenge.

Throughout the journal Smokey recounts losing his working dog (Sam), who died saving Smokey from a snake. Smokey has to leave him, but pledges to return & take him home. Smokey encounters ruthless characters; illness; rustlers & more. He also meets & makes lifelong friends; solves a twin murder that is decades old & discovers the value of family; friends & animals.

You will not be able to read this book & not shed a tear. It is masterfully written by a talented author who possesses the incredible ability to tell a story that; not only captivates you from its inaugural page; but one that will stay with you forever. To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. If I could give this book 10 stars out of 5; I would.

Even if you are not Australian, you will love Gunnedah Hero.
Gunnedah Hero would make a great movie.

Vicki Case


Hi. I don't normally send emails like this. However, I finished 'Gunnedah Hero' and 'A Drover's Blanket'. Great books. I couldn't put them down.

I'm an American living near Gosford NSW and commuting to Sydney everyday. The books kept me engaged each day on the train. My only challenge was holding back tears while people sit beside me on the train and look at me funny sniffing. I like to read books dealing with Aussie heritage. And these were great.


Tracy Dumpert

Comments sent to me by Christopher Bridgman: 29 August 2015

 G'day Clancy,
I just wanted to drop you a line to say how much I enjoyed Gunnedah Hero. My wife bought the book for my birthday in May 2014 but I have only just got around to settling back to read it.

I will cherish my copy of the book for a number of reasons; it was bought for me by my wife who I adore, it is a ripping yarn and it was signed by you on 1/4/2014.

The story is one that can be enjoyed by old and young alike (I am 58) and I will be recommending my nieces and nephews read Gunnedah Hero.

I look forward to buying a copy of A Drovers Blanket and finding out how Gun Danson fares at Wiralee.

Many thanks Clancy, I reckon you are one of the best storytellers of our time.

Kind regards

Christopher Bridgman

Greetings Clancy. 

What a fabulous book. Beautifully written. Congratulations. Once started I couldn't put it down.

A sensitive,  captivating, moving story of the Australian ethos and of the man on the land; the sincerity, the honesty, the mateship, the importance of family, the loyalty and courage of their dogs, their horses, living by their wits, by the sweat of their brow and by their values. All told through the eyes of a young man forced by circumstances to mature quickly and beyond his years.

You are truly gifted Clancy. Didactic and illuminating. I cannot wait to leave it with my son to read. This is a 'must read' for every adolescent, and for everyone that needs to be reminded of the spirit that built this great country of ours.

I am embarrassed to admit I have had this wonderful book so long without reading it ... But I wanted time to savour the story unhurried. Well I got my chance. My Turbine is being launched into Europe from the 2014 Thessalonika International Trade Fair, which starts on the 6th September. I am presently on route to Athens and had finished your book before landing.
I can't wait to now also read your other book, ‘Pa Joe's Place’, which I brought with me for the same reason. I'm keeping it for the return trip! I have no doubt it will be equally enriching.

Love ya work.

Paul S. Kouris, Barrister, Inventor Proprietor and Licensor
The Kouris Centri Turbine

Three top new reviews from Amazon for 'Gunnedah Hero' - May 2014:
 "Gunnedah Hero" by Clancy Tucker is a great historic read about a young fourteen year old boy discovering the family history by means of old documents, left to him by his grandfather. Gunnedah Danson reads the diary from 1910, a time when his great-great-grandfather looked after a large herd of cattle at a time of a most serious drought. That story is written with excellent attention to detail and it gives great insight into farming and herding of the times and is written with a great narrative and manages to hold the attention easily. The story of the past consumes Gunnedah but the story is more complex than this. He reads all this while staying at a family cattle station where problems of their own occur. This is a great and insightful read for all who love history. I found it particularly rewarding because it covers a place and an era I knew little about. The two heroes are both very likeable and their stories are very intriguing.

The book seems aimed at younger readers but has lots for adults like myself. A well rounded and very enjoyable read.”

Review by Christoph Fischer

“Smokey Danson was a legend in his own time. Known as the Gunnedah Hero, Smokey was given the impressive moniker as a young boy while driving a herd of cattle up the long `paddock,' in the early 1900s. Clancy Tucker deftly tells the tale of the Gunnedah Hero through the eyes of another young boy living in the present day. Gunnedah `Gunnie' Danson is the 14 yr old great great grandson of Smokey Danson. Gunnie has been given a school assignment to write about drought and its effect on farmers and local economy. Returning home from school one day, he is given a gift from his Grandfather. The gift is a manuscript and an envelope, which cannot be opened until Gunnie reads the adventure that his great-great-grandfather had back in 1911 during the Australian drought. Join Gunnie as he reads the story and travels with his great-great-Grandfather up the long paddock with his herd of cattle. You will learn how Smokey managed to survive the wilderness while taking care of the cattle with only the help of three dedicated dogs. Finally, you will learn how Smokey became known as the Gunnedah Hero, and how an envelope from the past, delivered to a young boy in the present, will change the future of the Gunnedah Hero's descendents. Clancy Tucker weaves a wonderful story that will introduce young boys here in the US to a life lived in Australia at the turn of the last century. Clancy includes a glossary of Aussie terms which many here in the states will not be familiar with, but what fun to be introduced to something so very new and different. This book should not be missed. I highly recommend it.”

Review by J E Rogers USA

“Gunnedah Hero was an enjoyable read, could read the whole book in one sitting as there was a desire to know what happened each day in the life of Gunnie. Shame the story didn't go further, would have like to read more of the great-grandfather's life and also into the current period but I guess that is a sign of a good book, I wanted more.”

Review by VJP

Top book reviews for 'Gunnedah Hero' seen on Writers' Web - 11 December 2013:

Top of Form
Bottom of Form
“Interesting”, “exciting”,” a great book for teenagers”, ” I loved it . . . I couldn’t put it down” is what our writers’ web reviewers said about young adult novel, Gunnedah Hero.

The reviews: “I really liked this book and found the story very interesting and exciting. I liked how there was two stories, one story about the main character and the second from a diary he was reading. The diary really showed what life on a property is like, how challenging it can be during good and bad times. I really felt like I was there. I found both stories very fascinating and was moved by how loyal and caring both characters were. This is a great book for teenagers.” Abbey English.

“I loved it . . . I couldn’t put it down. Such a well written story with such beautiful word pictures I felt I was there with Smokey sharing his trials and experiences. When I first began reading this story, possibly because of the age of the protagonist, I thought it was aimed at young adults, but the further I got into the story I realised it was suitable for adults as well as young adults.

The dialogue flowed so naturally and was appropriate to the times and location I loved all the characters both in Smokey’s story and in the more modern times with Gunnie. The smattering of poems added extra interest and were well placed in the storyline.So much research had gone into this story and it showed. I would love to read more of Clancy Tucker’s work, and I would recommend Gunnedah Hero to anyone who enjoys a good well written story.” Coral Nichols.

“Gunnedah “Gunnie” Danson knows his family has been in the farming business for generations, but it’s not until he’s left a manuscript in his grandfather’s will does he learn how hard they’ve fought to stay in it.  Gunnie starts to hope maybe Smokey’s diary can help the family once again. The quick pace of Gunnie and Smokey’s parallel boyish adventures keep readers anticipating the next cattle run or abandoned cattle station. Smokey is a likable pin-up character for young male readers. It’s also Smokey’s relationship with other minor characters he meets on the road which “bring home” messages about family, especially those about family being more than people we are linked to with blood. Gunnie’s role in the novel seems more minor, but his place in a more contemporary Australia serves to remind young readers that fears of drought still plague farmers today. Insight into how farmers have dealt with drought by walking the “long paddock” with their herds should be interesting for many readers given how little it has been explored in young adult fiction. Also easy to read with a helpful appendix at the end for self-driven readers, Gunnedah Hero is an arresting novel that will challenge young Aussie readers to learn more about their collective history.” Nikita McInnes

“I really enjoyed this book. I liked how Clancy Tucker made the characters come alive. How I could relate the characters traits to somebody I know. But I liked most how I could imagine the character standing right in front of my eyes. Any adventure loving person with any age at heart will love the title and the contents of this amazing story.”  Caitlin Shore.

Review of 'Gunnedah Hero' by Jack White 

Gunnedah Hero: what an intelligently conceived, beautifully crafted, sensitively written story! Thank you my friend. (Love ya work!) I'm no literary critic, I just loved the whole piece. You have succeeded in combining authentic though largely lost Australian outback culture, adventure, heroism, simplicity, wonder, love, integrity, deep human spirit and so much more in a moving account of what is inside every one of us who will 'dare' to live. That lump in my throat and tear in my eye was present throughout. Well done. This book deserves an honoured place. 
Jack White, Author, Musician, Western Australia - December 2013

 Interview on Goldie Alexander's blog: 7 December 2013


“Hi again Clancy,
I have now finished reading Gunnedah Hero also and just loved it.  Never mind the teenage readership, I think it is a book for everyone.  My neighbour Iris, who I bought the book for, would like to buy four copies for friends of hers who also lived at Gunnedah.  They all lived on the Ghoolengaddi settlement, which was divided into soldiers’ settlements after the second world war.  The Boggabri long paddock went right past them. So, can I order more copies please.  Iris would like her four inscribed to Betty, Nancy, Doreen and Audrey.  I would also like a copy for myself, so that makes five.  You can send them all to me at ... Thank you, I will continue to spread the word! Vera Rothwell” March 2013

"Dear Clancy,
Many thanks for your quick posting of your book.  It arrived on Monday, I gave it to Iris that afternoon and by yesterday she had finished it.  She absolutely loved it.  I think that she gave you just about the ultimate compliment when she said she felt like she was not so much reading the book as living it.  She knew all the places and could picture everything in her mind.  It made her very happy as she has strong ties with Gunnedah and fond memories. Thank you again, you certainly made an 86 year old lady very happy."
Vera Rothwell - New South Wales, Australia - 28 February 2013 


Great book review - 'Daily Telegraph', Thursday 21 February 2013:

Gunnedah Hero - Clancy Tucker, Clancy Tucker Publishing. 
THE cover says this book is aimed at the young adult market, but your mature adult reviewer found it an eminently enjoyable read. The story involves 14-year-old ‘‘Gunnie’’ Danson reading a manuscript written by his great great-grandfather ‘‘Smokey’’ Danson who, also aged 14, set out on a droving adventure during the 1910 drought. With two horses and three dogs, Smokey drove 100 cattle across northern NSW, from Coonabarabran to Armidale, becoming involved in many adventures in the ‘‘long paddock’’ while camping under the ‘‘drover’s blanket’’ (the Milky Way). One of those adventures — solving an old murder case — resulted in Smokey being named the ‘‘Gunnedah Hero’’. While Smokey’s main adventure involved saving the family property, Wiralee Station, by keeping the breeding stock alive during drought, Gunnie also saves the day for Wiralee in the present. The author cleverly weaves the bush atmosphere and vernacular of pre-World War I Australia and provides a glossary of terms. See http://clancytucker.com.au   for where to buy the book.

Graham Croker

Great book review – NSW Writers’ Centre

Book Review – NSW Writer’s Centre. (Posted: May 30)

‘Gunnedah Hero’ book review by Michael Hanrahan – May 2012.

This book review came about as a result of me offering my book to the Emerging Writers’ Festival’s book review initiative. Michael Hanrahan is the Managing Editor of ‘Rough Draft’, a new publishing house in Melbourne.  The review can be seen on the NSW Writers’ Centre website:


“Gunnedah Hero by Clancy Tucker: Emerging Writers’ Festival joins us for 366 Days of Writing.

Gunnedah Hero is a highly entertaining young adult novel set predominantly in the Australian outback. Fourteen-year-old ‘Gunnie’ Danson’s late grandfather left him a box containing a manuscript written by Gunnie’s great-great-grandfather Smokey Danson, following his cross-country journey as a fourteen-year-old drover in 1910. Smokey had to venture out alone in an effort to save his family’s cattle from starvation during a drought.

His adventures along the way include encounters with snakes and thieves, getting stuck in a disused dairy, and landing in the middle of a court case. He negotiates these dramas with the help of his trusty cattle dogs and the new friends he makes along the way. We also follow the story of Gunnie reading the manuscript with great enthusiasm in the present day.

Gunnie has a problem of his own to solve, and it turns out the solution is contained in the box his grandfather left him. From the opening pages this is an engaging book. Tucker has made his characters highly authentic and the story moves along quickly. Smokey is adventurous and keen to help his family, but he’s also daunted by the responsibility that has fallen to him because his father has been injured. In a sad scene Smokey is highly traumatised by the death of one of his three cattle dogs, Sam.

In the present day, Gunnie can see trouble brewing in his family but doesn’t know whether it’s his place to get involved. We jump seamlessly from Gunnie reading the manuscript in the present day back into the story of Smokey in 1910, as links between the two gradually unfold.

Tucker paints a thoroughly Australian story. The dogs, cattle and horses are central, as are the countryside and the family cattle station, Wiralee. Done poorly this ends up with everybody eating meat pies while they drive around in Holdens with their Akubras on, but Tucker doesn’t fall for this trap. The Aussie atmosphere is woven into the story. Gunnedah Hero will also provide an education about the times for its intended young adult market.

The only minor problem with the book is the occasionally poor layout which made reading awkward in places, but this is not uncommon in self-published books. The cover of Gunnedah Hero displays a couple of awards the book has won. They are well deserved.
Review by Michael Hanrahan”

Other Book Reviews:

*** BUZZ WORDS MAGAZINE *** Top book review  


“I loved It! I couldn’t put it down and it is full of wonderful characters; stories and sub-stories that are so interesting it’s like reading the Arabian nights. One story leads to another then another and it goes on, linking to something else just as extraordinary. The peripheral happenings are as magnetic as the main goings on. Fantastic! You’re on a winner. Good luck. It deserves to be noticed.”

“Gunnedah Hero is a book that will be remembered long after its reading. This is a perfectly crafted, exceptionally well-written book which has been self-published. It comes highly recommended by the reviewer.”
Anastasia Gonis – Book Reviewer for ‘Buzz Words’ – January 2012.

Other top rated ‘GUNNEDAH HERO’ – REVIEWS

“There is much to learn and appreciate in this novel. There are references to bush lore, bush tucker and medicines, the wild life, the value of the Bulletin, the postal services, the country courts, all windows into life one hundred years ago. Though most names and some places are fictional, quite a few places are not and can be found via the Internet, including Gunnedah which still has its memorial to the murdered miners. There is a glossary of terms, a family tree in this absorbing family history, and a website for reader interaction. This is a valuable read for ages 10 and over, in fact for all ages. JDA”

Book review in CBCA magazine, ‘Reading Time’, February 2012 Vol 56, No 1. John Adams – Book reviewer – CBCA -
‘Clancy, what a great book. So typically Australian, a great bush story, of mateship, overcoming hardship, courage, love, and triumph. Never a dull moment, and makes you want to read on with every chapter. Full of compassion, and warm hearted moments, the reader is not infrequently in tears filled with real emotion.’

Doctor Judith O’Malley-Ford, MBBS (Qld), MPH, JP (Qual), FRACGP, Author of ‘The Australian Medical Dictionary’.
“Wow! What a story. I loved it. It wasn’t a book I would normally pick up to read, but it was a book I couldn’t put down. Smokey was my fave, I found that I didn’t keep reading to see what was in the envelope, I kept reading because loved being on the journey with Smokey. I want the sequel now haha. Fantastic, really. I came to work with bleary eyes on numerous occasions because I stayed up late to read, unable to put it down. Thanks so much for giving me a copy.’
Tammy Lovett, Editor, Alexandra Standard, Yea Chronicle.
 ‘I loved the story. I found the plot believable and the characters authentic. The structure of parallel narrators works well, particularly because both boys are a similar age and have the same standards or principles. You have the very successful formula of the kids showing just how capable they are in the absence of adults, plus a few “baddies” to test or push them a little further.’
Geri Coughlan – Head Librarian, Trinity College, Melbourne.
‘Clancy Tucker is a great writer and has produced a magnificent yarn for everyone to enjoy. A delightful story that had me hooked right from the start. Clancy’s way of writing takes you right into the pages of the book, making you feel very much part of it … you will find that once you start reading, you will want to continue, without interruption, until you’ve reached the end. This is a heart warming, well written story that will transport you to another era and back again, bringing with it lessons you can use in your own life today. You won’t be disappointed … it would make a great film. I would strongly recommend this book, it will leave an impression.’
Deb Cullen – UK author – book reviewer
‘Read Gunnedah Hero while I was away. I really appreciated the realism and the mammoth amount of research that must’ve gone into it. I also liked the way the book alternates between current day and 1910. Using naming the foal as a common thread throughout the current-day story was a master stroke. As Gunnie would say, love ya work. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. Wishing you every success with it.’
Vicki Tyley – author.
‘I’ve finished your book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and found the story very believable. Have done a lot of bush camping over the years so could relate to the life. As to what was in the envelope? Well – proof that the property could not be sold as long as a family member was living on the property – BRILLIANT! Congratulations – it is a really good read.’
Jean Laws – editor ‘Eyes and Ears’.
‘It’s a beautiful story, Clancy, filled with likeable, enduring characters. It deserves to be in print. I loved the finish and how you wrapped it up. It all came together beautifully – and that goes for both periods. You’re an excellent storyteller so there was never any need to slash and burn. I LOVE the back and forth of the Gunnie / Smokey timeframes. I reckon it works really well and adds a truly original element to the story. It also works for the suspense – especially now Gunnie has the dilemma of his aunt’s phone call. It’s good to keep readers on edge and there’s no shortage of action and drama in your writing.’
Julie Jay, ‘Rebus Press’ – Editor & author.
“When I read this Gunnedah Hero, I think of you. I have a feeling that I read something so personal, so precious to the heart, so sentimental … I haven’t finished reading your story yet, but I want to tell you that I love this story and it should be read by the Australian in schools, and the citizen of the world like me and other young adults. You are a very proud Aussie. I love this.”
Anchansiri Sriyananda – Bangkok, Thailand – former senior Thai diplomat.
‘This is a brilliant book in the ilk of ‘Diary of a Welsh Swagman’, a book my grandmother gave me as a girl, about a man walking the district I grew up in. This book showed, as does Smokey’s story, how tough life could be, and just how much could be achieved with very little.’
Jill Smith – Author ‘Dual Visions’ – book reviewer.
‘My local librarian complained to me that there are not enough books for boys. She said the libraries are always looking for a great adventure story that will appeal to the young male members. Well, she can’t go past this one. This is a wonderful coming of age story for boys … it is cleverly written and is a heart warming and enjoyable read that will appeal to more than the child and young adult audience it is targeting. I became totally lost in the bush settings and the lives of the two main protagonists and felt like I was there with them. It has been favourably acclaimed by many notable people. You and your children will love this book. What makes a great historical novel for kids? This man has the key to that genre.’
Elaine Ouston – Author, editor and publisher – Morris Publishing Australia.
I have received and read your book! I liked it and was touched. I will tell my publishers about it. The content is of course very Australian, but you never know.
Geri Brandjes, senior editor, The Netherlands, May 2012.
Thank you for your patience while I had your manuscript assessed. I really enjoyed the read, and was captivated by the characters you had created. It is a great story.  I have no doubt you will have success in placing this book outside of Australia. It’s a great story, and it’s written well. I personally enjoyed it.
Tina Chou, Peony Literary Agency, Shanghai, China
Links to the Author’s Interviews, Reviews and Magazines where GUNNEDAH HERO has been featured and discussed:
Morris Publishing Australia – eBook publisher :  http://www.morrispublishingaustralia.com/clancy-tucker—author.html 
New South Wales Writers’ Centre book review – Australia : http://clancytucker.com.au/book-reviews.php

Interview by Elena Ornig - June 13 2013

* http://www.authorsinterviews.biz/interview-with-clancy-tucker/
Interview by Melissa Wray:

Interview on UncommonYA site:

My interview on my blog:

Interview on Lori Foroozandeh's Blog:


Book review:
"Just finished the book.
I spent most of the day reading it 
as I found it hard to put it down. Love ya work!!!"

Justice Shane Marshall, Federal Court, Australia 
Clancy's interview on Morgan Straughan Comnick's blog:

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