Book First Published on 31st March 1955 - 188 pages

This story was first published, in ten parts, as BIGGLES SPYCATCHER in Junior Mirror issues 23 to 32, dated 2nd February 1955 to 4th May 1955


First edition dust jacket showing original price of 7 shillings and 6 pence

(Even though it has the higher number of 44 on the spine, it was in fact Biggles in Australia that was the first Biggles book to be numbered Biggles in Australia was published

on 31st March 1955 whereas Biggles Chinese Puzzle, numbered 43, was published later, on 9th May 1955. They must have been allocated numbers in advance.)



A picture of Erich von Stalhein in an Australian paper is the clue that starts this adventure. Von Stalhein was rescued with others after apparently being shipwrecked. Biggles flies to Australia to investigate exactly what von Stalhein was up to. Searching the islands and atolls of northwest Australia, Biggles and Ginger settle on a lagoon for the night. Here a giant squid attacks their seaplane and this is the picture that is on the dust cover of the book. Eventually, they find the island where the shipwreck happened. They also find a number of bodies, a Geiger counter and what appears to be part of a list of German agents in Australia. It appears that another boat was also shipwrecked and a fight ensued to get the one and only lifeboat. Biggles enlists the help of local police officer Sergeant William Gilson and they take him to the island to show him the bodies. However, von Stalhein has returned in a boat called the Matilda and cleaned away all evidence of any crimes. Enquiries about the Matilda lead to further clues. A man name Smith chartered a plane to rescue von Stalhein and his cronies after they were shipwrecked. Meanwhile, Algy and Bertie have arrived and an Aborigine tries to kill Biggles. It appears that various Iron Curtain agents are stirring up the local natives and encouraging them to murder white people. Travelling to Tarracooma with Bill Gilson there is a confrontation with the bad guys and some arrests are made. Meanwhile, von Stalhein is unexpectedly found at the airport. His pilot, a man called Cozens is befriended by Biggles and his comrades. He knows nothing of the villain's affairs, as he is just a pilot. However, by just talking to Biggles, Cozens' life is now in jeopardy and he is taken away on the Matilda. Biggles has to fly to Sydney and so it is down to Algy, Ginger and Bertie to rescue Cozens. This they do by flying after the boat. Cozens jumps into a crocodile infested river to escape and get to the Seaplane. Cozens takes Ginger and Bertie to the Smiths' operational base at a place called Daly Flats. Here they find that hostile Aborigines have already attacked and they have to fight them off. Smith is killed in the fighting but von Stalhein escapes to fight another day.


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Biggles in Australia

Publication Details - published by Hodder and Stoughton



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