Adventure! Excitement! Suspense!

Book 2: Charli and Hamish

Trapped in Gondwana is a series of seven books. Book two is now available at Amazon.

Book 2 finds Nellie back in Gondwana

She gives up her visitor status to rescue New Zealanders, nine-year-old Charli and her half-brother Hamish, who are trapped in a cave in Fairytale Realm. Together they must find their way out of Fairytale Realm, complete a dangerous mission, pass a mysterious Big Test and find their way to the centre of Gondwana before sunset or they will be trapped on the pre-historic continent forever. Will they all make it back to the centre in time? Will Nellie stay in Gondwana or go home?

About the book

Trapped in Gondwana: Book 1 by JB Rowley is the first book in the Gondwana Adventure Series for children in the 8-12 age group.

Eleven-year-old Nellie Russell is just an ordinary girl until the day she becomes trapped on the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana. Now she must find the courage to fight fearsome Gondwanan animals including a Demon Duck, striped wolves and a tree climbing crocodile. Nellie journeys through the misty forests where unseen creatures, spirits of the underworld and troll-like monsters lurk. Along the way, she triumphs over tests, collects adventures stones and deciphers riddles. But she must reach the centre of Gondwana before nightfall or she will never see her home and family again. Blocking her way is the mysterious Big Test and a magic spell. Will Nellie overcome these final obstacles to make it out of Gondwana and back to her home?

Trapped in Gondwana is now available as an ebook for only $0.99. JB 🙂

Cover design by: Char Adlesperger

Some Amazon reviews:

Such an amazing book. I just couldn’t stop reading once I started5 stars

If there is a second book, I would love to read it…4 stars

This book was amazing!! I could not wait to turn the pages and see what happened next!!5 stars

The book was very interesting. The author J.B Rowley put all her imagination into this book...5 stars

This book had me wanting to keep reading the whole time. I love how it is so imaginative, I really felt like I was in the story trying to escape from Gondwana4 stars

Trapped in gondwana is an amazing book that is very thrilling. once you begin reading it you just can not put it down...5 stars

See reviews in full at Amazon.

JB is a proud ambassador for the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife.

Read Chapter One

Trapped in Gondwana: Chapter 1

Nellie was just an ordinary girl until the day she fell through a crack in the Earth.

Young girls do not usually fall through cracks in the Earth but that is what happened to eleven-year-old Nellie Russell. At least that is what it seemed like to Nellie because one minute she was sitting on one of the exposed roots of an old gum-tree and the next minute she was falling, as though through a crack in the Earth. As soon as she landed she heard a loud roar behind her.

Nellie spun around to face the most fearsome monster she had ever seen. Dark brown hair covered the creature’s blob-like body. Its strange flat feet looked like huge hairy flippers. Two curled yellow horns in its head seemed to be sending lightning sparks into the air. Deep in the hair on its face, where its eyes should be, Nellie could see flickering lights. The creature’s mouth twisted in an ugly snarl that revealed, not teeth, but fangs like upside down elephant tusks. Its hands had only two fingers; two long fingers. One of those two-fingered hands curled out toward Nellie.

“Stay away from me,” she said, keeping her tone calm and firm.

Nellie stepped back, quickly taking a defensive pose with her feet apart as she had learned to do in her martial arts class. She took a deep breath and shouted.


At the same time she pushed her left hand out to block the creature, aimed a kick at the centre of its body and brought her right arm down across its shoulders in a sharp blow. Surprised by the attack, the creature hesitated. Nellie seized the advantage. She moved forward, twisting her body and quickly pushing into the creature’s face with her right arm, following that with a series of kicks one after the other. The creature doubled over and let out an angry roar. Nellie could hear her heart pounding but she stood her ground and raised her arm again. However, before she could resume her attack the hairy creature took a step back, roared again then turned and lumbered away through the forest.

Nellie heaved a sigh of relief. She took a few moments to catch her breath and was about to investigate this strange place she found herself in when she heard a booming voice.

“Why have you come?” Nellie looked around but could see only trees and ferns.

The voice, which seemed to be rising from the ground, repeated the question. “Why have you come?”

Nellie looked down and saw a creature that stood no taller than her knees, a blue creature with a wrinkled, elfish face. Curly eyebrows, like the twisted branches of an ancient ghost gum, grew wild over his eyes. A blue cape, almost the same blue as his skin, covered his body.  He held his head to one side with his deep blue eyes fixed on her. Nellie did not know how to answer.

Finally she said, “I don’t know. I came by accident.”

“By accident,” said the blue creature. “Hmm, that’s an interesting way to come.”

“Where am I?” said Nellie.

“Where you are should be obvious, young lady. You are in Gondwana, of course.”

“Gondwana! That’s not possible.” Nellie knew the supercontinent of Gondwana had broken up over a hundred million years ago. She had learned about it at school because Australia had once been part of Gondwana.

“Not possible, young lady? Do you mean you are not here?”

“No. I mean Gondwana does not exist anymore.”

“Hmm, you have a point. Strictly speaking you are not in Gondwana. You are in the Gondwana adventure.”

“Who are you?” said Nellie.

The strange little creature straightened himself and took on an air of importance. “You have the privilege of speaking to Gondvan, master of the Gondwana adventure.”

Nellie began to think the blue creature might be a little weird. She decided to leave before her dream turned into a nightmare.

“Well, it’s been nice meeting you,” she said, “but I must be going now. I have to go home.”

Gondvan stepped back, flinging out one arm in an invitation for Nellie to journey forth.

“Do not let me keep you, young lady. If you must go home, then home you must go.”

Nellie looked around at the ferns and ancient trees cloaked in mist. It all looked very real; not a bit like a dream and she did not know how to get home. She looked down at Gondvan.

“Which way do I go?” she asked.

“You are a foolish young lady if you do not know where you live,” he said.

“I know where I live. Of course I do, but I don’t know where I am.”

Gondvan sighed and rolled his eyes. He spoke slowly, as though to a child not yet familiar with language. “You are in the Gondwana adventure.”

Nellie let out an exclamation of impatience and slapped her hands on her hips. As often happened when she became angry her face went white and the freckles across the bridge of her nose stood out more than usual. Her green eyes deepened to dark grey. “I know that. I mean I don’t know how to find my way home from here.”

“Well, why didn’t you say so?” said Gondvan. “The answer to the problem is simple. You cannot find your way home from here.”

“What do you mean?”

“If you will listen, my words will enlighten you,” said Gondvan. “You are trapped in the Gondwana adventure. It is through adventure that you achieve freedom.”

“I don’t see much freedom in being trapped,” said Nellie. “I just want to go home.”

“Before you think about how to find your way home you must find your way out of the adventure.”

“And I don’t suppose you intend to tell me how I get out of this adventure?”

“Young lady, that information I will gladly give you. Getting out of the adventure is not difficult; simply travel to the centre of Gondwana.”

“It will take me forever to find my way. It’s all jungle and mist.”

Gondvan shook his head. “You must not take forever. You must reach the centre before sunset.”
“Before sunset! That’s impossible.”

Gondvan’s blue eyes flashed at her. “My dear young lady, nothing is impossible. However, if you do not wish to go then you do not have to go.”

“But you just said I have to get to the centre of Gondwana before sunset.”

“That is what I said. However, that only applies if you wish to be released from the adventure. You are most welcome to stay in Gondwana.”

Nellie stamped her foot. “Well, of course I want to get out,” she said.


A sigh of exasperation escaped from Nellie’s lips.

“I want to go home.” she said. “If you’re the master of the adventure, you can help me.”

“I am not here to help you. You are here to help yourself. Find your own way to the centre of Gondwana before sunset or stay here forever. That is all there is to it.”

“I am not going to stay here forever.”

Gondvan looked at Nellie thoughtfully. “There is much to be discovered here,” he said, “things you can feel but cannot see and things you can see but cannot feel.”

“You sound like the ma…I mean like Hatter in Alice in Wonderland,” said Nellie.

She had been about to say ‘the mad Hatter’ but thought it might sound rude.

“Hatter?” said Gondvan.

“Yes, there’s a story about a girl called Alice who follows a rabbit down a rabbit hole and ends up in a wonderland. Hatter was one of the..the…well…one of the unusual characters she met.”

A smile creased the blue wrinkles of Gondvan’s face. “Ah, a wonderland. There is no land more wonderful than Gondwana. You will not meet Hatters here but you will discover much that is unusual.”

“Maybe Gondwana is wonderful,” she said, “but I did not ask to come here and I will not stay here forever. I intend to get out and go home.”

“In that case, young lady, there is much to do. If you wish to go home you must first bring the stones home,” said Gondvan.

Before Nellie could ask him what he meant, Gondvan disappeared.


Will Nellie overcome all the obstacles in her way to make it to the centre of Gondwana in time?

Find out by buying Trapped in Gondwana for only $0.99!

Link to JB’s Blog

Well, the inspiration to write Trapped in Gondwana probably goes right back to when I was a growing up in the Australian bush. I lived very much in the natural environment around me. The bush, old growth forests, waterfalls, rivers and creeks were my playgrounds. The living creatures of those playgrounds such as butterflies, ants, frogs, birds, snakes and goannas were my playmates. My father was a woodcutter. He would often take the whole family (Mum and a truck load of kids) out to his bush camp and, on Sundays, for long drives through the forest including the old growth forests of Errinundra Plateau – remnants of Gondwana. We stopped to stretch our legs and explore at exquisitely beautiful spots deep in the bush that very few people knew about, probably only bushies like my father, the local Aboriginal (Gurnai) people and those who worked for the Forestry. All of this beauty I took for granted and until I went to school I assumed all kids grew up in such environmental wonderlands.

My affinity with the forest is embedded in my psyche, so much so that every time I returned to my hometown of Orbost after moving to Melbourne I went to the Rainforest Centre to watch the slides that showed how our forests evolved out of the ancient forests of Gondwana. It was the same slide show every time and yet, like a child wanting to hear the same story over and over again, I watched it again and again and never grew tired of it.

The other wonderlands I grew up with were those in fairy tales and places imagined by writers, especially the adventures created by Enid Blyton. Although I did not consciously set out to tap into my psyche through my writing, I can see that is what I have done with Trapped in Gondwana, which is an adventure story set in the environmental wonderland of ancient Gondwana. It is first and foremost an adventure story for kids’ entertainment but the issues of nurturing our environment and extinction of species are subtly embedded.

What else influenced the writing of Trapped in Gondwana?

Another significant influence was my relationship as a pseudo auntie to a young man by the name of Byron Webb who was tragically killed in a motor cycle accident at the age of 23 in February, 2010. Having a generous and easy going nature, an intelligent curiosity, a brilliant mind and a double degree in law and science he was on the threshold of a very promising future. Byron and I enjoyed many in-depth conversations about the mysteries of the universe and the Earth, including Gondwana. Making the Gondwana adventure a series of seven books is a tribute to Byron whose favourite number was seven. The scenes that include crocodiles were also inspired by my desire to honour Byron’s memory as Byron grew up with crocodiles at his father’s famous reptile park, Crocodylus Park & Zoo in Darwin.

Incidentally, I named the main character Nellie in honour of  friend and fellow storyteller, Nell Bell – a life member of the Victorian branch of Storytelling Australia.

Trapped in Gondwana ebook only $0.99 at Amazon.

About the author

My full name is June Barnes-Rowley and I am often called JB.

My early success with writing included having short stories published in New Idea (a national Australian magazine) and other journals but life got in the way of any writing aspirations.

I married an Englishman (Dennis Barnes) at an early age and enjoyed a ten year journey as his wife after which we went our separate ways. Interestingly, before migrating to Australia, the Barnes family lived near the great-grand-daughters of Charles Dickens, one of my literary mentors, in Reading, Berkshire. When I was around six years old one of my aunts in Albury sent me a copy of Dickens’ Great Expectations. She knew I loved books but she kept getting our ages (there were seven of us) mixed up and she thought I was older than six. It didn’t matter because I devoured any book I got my hands on and Great Expectations was thrilling for me. I remember being scared of the convict but apart from that I loved reading the book. That was how a skinny little bush kid, isolated by distance and poverty, was introduced to Charles Dickens.

I managed very little writing during this time as a married and later divorced woman although I attended many writing workshops and courses. I published some articles and started to write several books and I edited the national storytelling magazine swag of yarns for several years. It wasn’t until 1995 when my mother died that I found a story that not only compelled me to start to write a book but also motivated me to take it to the finished and published stage. This book, Whisper My Secret, was published in 2007 and enjoyed much success although it was not destined to be a best seller. The ‘tree book’ is now out of print but Whisper My Secret is now an ebook.

To see my mother’s story in print gave me an overwhelming feeling of joy. This feeling accelerated and my confidence swelled when many who read the book swamped me with praise and positive feedback. Wow! Their reactions were way above my expectations.

If you would like to know about my early life read on.

I was born in Orbost, East Gippsland on the Snowy River in the Australian state of Victoria. No, I am not going to tell you when! My parents, Myrtle and George Rowley, called me June. Apparently my father, who loved to sing and whistle, wanted to call me Jeannie because of a song he liked called ‘Jeannie With the Light-Brown Hair’. Anyway, they settled on June and that made me June Rowley. (By the way Rowley rhymes with ‘holy moly’.) For some reason my father never called me June; he called me Brigitte (or Brigid). I think that was because of an actress he liked called Brigitte Bardot. At primary school my friends called me Peggy because we chose names for ourselves instead of using the names our parents chose for us. I wonder if kids still do that.

Later I became June Barnes (because I married Mr Barnes) and many people called me JB. Then I became June Barnes-Rowley (because I divorced Mr Barnes and my father-in-law did not want me to drop his name) and people still called me JB (‘cos I like it) so it makes sense to be known as JB Rowley. These days some people call me JB and some people call me June and I like both. Nobody calls me Brigitte or Jeannie or Peggy!

My earliest memory of a home is a two bedroom farm house out on the Bonang Highway a few kilometres from the little township of Orbost. It wasn’t long before that little house was crammed to overflowing with seven kids. It was probably rather stressful for Mum and Dad but for us kids it was paradise. We roamed the neighbouring sheep farms and picked mushrooms and blackberries, caught tadpoles in the billabongs and rode a fat ram like a wild horse. We rambled through the bush exploring its infinite mysteries and enjoying endless moments of discovery. In this wild, feral existence I was secure, assured and confident but at school I was shy, confused and awkward. I was small and insignificant and so skinny I looked like I had overdosed on worm tablets.

It was a stroke of luck for me that the teachers at Orbost North Primary School recognised in me a gift for storytelling and actively encouraged me to write. They called me ‘the one with the Enid Blyton’ touch. (Books written by Enid Blyton were once as popular as the Harry Potter books are today.) My teachers at Orbost High School (now Orbost Secondary College) also encouraged me to write. In fact, I was still in school when my short stories first began to be published.

You would think that will all that encouragement from my teachers and with the heady success of having my stories accepted by a national magazine, I would have hopped into the success cannon and shot into the world of writing success. So why didn’t I? Dunno, really, but I think lack of self-belief was probably a factor. However, that early success and the positive reinforcement of my teachers stayed with me throughout the years and writing was never far from my mind. Now, at long last, I am making a commitment to writing.


Gondwana, was a southern supercontinent that existed from 510 to 180 million years ago. Africa, Antarctica, Australia, India, Madagascar, South America and The Arabian Peninsula were all together in one landmass called Gondwana (also known as Gondwanaland) before it began to break up approximately 180 million years ago.

In the beginning there was an exploding star and a cloud of gas from which the planet Earth was born (about 5000 million years ago). At some point in Earth’s history the supercontinent Pangea was formed. During the Jurassic period Pangea began to break up to become two large land masses or supercontinents. In the north was Laurasia and in the south was Gondwana.

The continent of Gondwana was named by Austrian scientist, Eduard Suess, after the Gondwana region of central northern India.  It is believed the word comes from the Sanskrit  ‘gondavana’ meaning ‘forest of the Gonds’. The Gonds are a tribe of people of central India.

Trapped in Gondwana is an adventure story for children in the 8-12 age group.

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