Arthur Ransome is probably best remembered as the author of the children's adventure series Swallows and Amazons. But the innocent world of those wholesome tales set in Britain's Lake District are in stark contrast to Arthur Ransome's earlier incarnation as a British spy and apologist for the Bolsheviks.

Between 1913 and 1924, Arthur Ransome lived in Russia and the Baltic states, reporting on the seismic events of the revolutionary period.

In 2005, some 40 years after his death, M15 released its files on the English author, confirming that Arthur Ransome was indeed a spy for both the Russians and the British.

English author Roland Chambers has spent years trawling through those recently released classified documents to write Arthur Ransome's life story.

Roland Chambers was recently a guest at the Times Cheltenham Literature Festival where he spoke about uncovering the real Athur Ransome.

Roland's talk is available as a podcast on ABC's Radio National website. Visit

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Join the WBA

Membership is open to all wooden boat enthusiasts. Many members own boats, others do not, but all enjoy the chance to get together and "muck about with boats". Their boats include rowing boats, putt-putts, radio controlled models, pond yachts, canoes, kayaks, steam-powered boats, sailing dinghies, dayboats and ocean-going yachts.

The Wooden Boat Association is based in Melbourne, with regular sailing days scheduled on Albert Park Lake, as well as other venues around Melbourne, and at least one weekend each year elsewhere in the state.

Especially welcome is the first-time wooden boat builder or restorer, who can expect to receive ample advice and assistance in getting their dream onto the water.

Benefits of Wooden Boat Association Membership 

  • Become part of a friendly and sociable group of people with a common interest in wooden boats.
  • Receive Shavings, a monthly newsletter bringing timely news about events and activities in Victoria.
  • Regular meetings with a wide range of interesting speakers and activities. Our usual venue is the Albert Park Yacht Club, with visits to other venues from time to time.
  • Monthly sailing days, on Albert Park Lake and other locations close to Melbourne.
  • Use of the Association's own boats, two traditional sailing boats, Begonia and Lindsay Symons, our canoe Stringybark, and our extremely rare Port Philip 12.
  • Access to the Association's extensive library of boatbuilding and other nautical books.
  • Companionship with sister associations in other states

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