Almanac Books: ‘The Girl in Cabin 350’ by Gideon Haigh


Good friend of the Footy Almanac, Gideon Haigh has a new book out, and once again Gideon delves deeply into ‘files (that) just want to be free’ to uncover a most amazing story.




Ever wondered how someone could simply vanish?  Be there one minute and gone the next…..



Last year I was reading a memoir by the late Michael Cannon.  He described a young woman whom he called “Gwenda”, complete with inverted commas, whom he tried unsuccessfully to seduce, in 1949.  Not long after, he picked up Melbourne’s Herald and there was her picture on the front page – she had disappeared whilst aboard the liner Orcades.  The mystery, he said, had never been solved.


Interesting, eh?  But the only way I was going to find out more was, you guessed it, to write a book.


The result is one of the most fascinating and flavoursome stories I’ve ever delved into.  The characters include not only beautiful and benighted 19-year-old nurse Gwenda McCallum, but a brilliant young actor, an incorrigible philanderer and bigamist, a daring aviator, a Fascist sympathiser, and a woman with a wooden hand. Plus, of course, the backdrop of a magnificent ocean liner.  This is why I love non-fiction: never in a thousand years would you have made this story up.


The Girl in Cabin 350, which is how Gwenda was described on the front page of London’s Evening Standard, also explores the harrowing consequences of the disappearance for her family, and reflects on the place of the missing person in our culture.


This latest title by the Archives Liberation Front, colophon by my daughter, is also very lovely: an extensively illustrated and smartly designed hardback on premium quality paper.



So deposit $40 in my account (bsb 733152, acct no 525322), let me know your address, and it’s yours. <[email protected]>


Remember our slogan at ALF: Quia solo esse liber files (‘Files just want to be free’)




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