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Fifteen Young Men is the true story of a doomed adventure.

Fifteen Young Men is the true story of a doomed adventure.

It was a maritime tragedy that unfolded one sad, dark hour at a time. A cold, cruelly blustery night revealing – with agonising slowness – that fifteen young men of the Mornington Football Club would never make it home. As dawn broke and families began to mourn, a nation was to learn the full extent of one of the world’s worst sporting disasters.

The sinking of the Process in catastrophically rough seas off Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in 1892, with the loss of all on board, horrified Australia. ‘Such an accident has no parallel in our land’s history,’ reported The Argus. Yet somehow, for more than a century, this calamitous event slipped from Australia’s consciousness.

In Fifteen Young Men, journalist Paul Kennedy reveals the stories behind the tragedy. In his compelling evocation of a spirited Australian town on the cusp of a new century, he captures the trauma of families and friends suffering almost unbearable loss, but also the irrepressible optimism of the times, and the mateship, love and resilience that would come to define a budding nation.

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    August 29, 2016

    William Heinemann Australia

    336 pages

    RRP $34.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
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    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    August 29, 2016

    Random House Australia

    336 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au


Like Rev. Caldwell, the first Europeans to arrive at Port Phillip adored its splendour but were cautious of its dangers and moods, so white settlement came slowly. Also, it took a while for them to find the place.

The British Empire started mapping the southern coast of Australia in the late eighteenth century. By then, the penal settlement of Sydney (Port Jackson) was brimful of convicts; colonial chiefs were starting to worry about the population’s morale and morality. A second settlement was needed.

Among the best explorers at that time was a handsome surgeon called George Bass, who took six volunteers in a banksia- timber boat to explore the theory among seamen that a treacherous passage of water separated the Australian mainland and Tasmania (Van Diemen’s Land). He proved it right.

Continue Reading
Finding Emotional Truth

 Paul Kennedy answers our questions about writing Fifteen Young Men.

The Pull of the Story

  Author and journalist Paul Kennedy details the inspiration behind Fifteen Young Men.

Also by Paul Kennedy

The Rise And Fall Of British Naval Mastery
Engineers Of Victory
Hell On The Way To Heaven


The Story of the Jews
The Wife Drought
Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls
The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Global Power
The Better Angels Of Our Nature
The Unwomanly Face Of War
The Water Kingdom
Long Road from Jarrow
Queer City
Home and Away
Fifty Years of Hurt
A Walk in the Park
The Long Weekend
The Black Prince of Florence
The German War
Republic or Death!