Ever wanted to know a little more about the characters from the Hunter Chronicles stories? Well here is your chance to get the back story on all the members of the Hunter gang, what they love to do, their likes and dislikes, strengths and struggles, even what their names mean. So read on, and enjoy...!

Ethan Hunter
Ethan has dark hair, fair skin and the piercing grey eyes of an eagle. When he turns his gaze upon you, it can seem like he’s looking right into you. Compactly well built, Ethan possesses a natural athleticism and grace in his movements, though his cramped city living hasn’t given him opportunity to develop his latent abilities. You might say he’s a ‘work in progress.’
Name Meaning: Ethan is an old Hebrew name for strong, safe or firm. In the Bible, Ethan was a wise man but not as wise a man as Solomon. That’d totally make Ethan laugh – he feels anything but strong, safe or wise most of the time.
Age: 11
Hair Colour: Dark brown
Eye Colour: Grey
Likes: The city, his skateboard, his X-box, and hanging out with his mates; oh, and his Aunt Elaine’s homemade cookies.
Essential Info: Generally quiet and considered by some to be brooding, Ethan is actually really smart. He just likes to think stuff through before he speaks. Perhaps another reason for the quietness is that he struggles to read. He finds the words tend to move around the page and he can’t quite get a fix on them. The school counsellor has a fancy name for it, but all he knows is that it sucks, and so he puts on the mask to cover up the anger and frustration. An idealist at heart, he’s sometimes disappointed with life so he lashes out, but still lights up at the prospect of a new discovery. When he does latch onto something that grabs him, he can be single-minded to the point of recklessness.
Strengths: Brave, loyal (once he gets to know you), extremely curious, not a quitter. He’s also a thinker, a sort of join-the dots kind of a guy – he can figure things out.
Weakness: Impulsive, foolhardy, can be sarcastic if he’s in a bad mood.
Fun Fact: Ethan would like nothing better than to learn how to surf and hopes his dad will teach him some day.

Stephanie Hunter
Stephanie is the polar-opposite to her cousin Ethan. She loves the bush. He hates it. Where he’s dark, she’s fair with wavy sun-lightened hair. He hates books, she reads every chance she gets. He’s brooding, she’s bubbly. She’s also taller, smarter, and slender, with a natural warmth and patience, and a tendency towards giggling fits when something strikes her as funny.
Name Meaning: The name Stephanie means garland or crown. In French, Stephanie means ‘crowned in victory.’ 
Age: 12
Hair Colour: Light blonde
Eye Colour: Brown
Likes: Books, more books, animals (especially Spock), writing and drawing, the beach, the bush, and Grace of course.
Essential Info: Stephanie is an only child. She moved to the bush with her Mum and Dad a year ago when her parents bought a tumbledown guesthouse on the old coach road between Melbourne and Sydney. They’re doing it up as a retreat centre for people who need some time out. As Christians, they see this as a way they can give something back to people badly in need of some R & R. Steph loves working on the old place. She is quite artistic, as well as practical and competent. As she has mastered all sorts of unusual tasks around the property her confidence and positive outlook have increased. She also loves life in the bush. She loves the forest, the native animals and birds, the farm animals and especially the horses. More an optimist than an idealist, she thinks better of people and the world than her cousin.
Strengths: Smart, positive, cheerful, patient, practical, honest, even-tempered and dependable.
Weakness: Inclined to be over-cautious when action is needed. She’s also a bit of a “fixer” and thinks that she can solve everyone’s problems – even people who don’t want to be fixed – like Ethan.
Fun Fact: Stephanie loves books and reads everything she can get her hands on. She also has a secret desire to write and illustrate her own series of books one day. She thinks Ethan would make a good character in one of her stories, maybe as the slightly stupid younger cousin of the story’s heroine.

Jem is something of a mystery. The kids are all scared stiff of him. They know he is a hunter; they have seen the skins of foxes and cats hanging on the fences near his shack, and so they avoid going anywhere they might bump into him. There are also lots of scary stories and myths floating around about him – that he always carries a knife, that he can read your thoughts, or tell where you have walked days afterwards. This last bit is quite possibly true, as one of the legends surrounding Jem says that he is descended from Sir Watkin Wynne, the old Aboriginal tracker who helped capture the bloodthirsty bushrangers Thomas and John Clarke. No one knows if the story is true, and no one is game enough to ask.
Name Meaning: Most people think that Jem is short for a longer name; more like a ‘nick-name’ than a real name. Even Jem couldn’t tell you if that is true or not. Jem is the only name he’s ever gone by, and he’s OK with that.
Age: Unknown
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Dark brown
Likes: The land, the forest and the creatures that live in it. He also likes the Hunter kids and their friends even though he senses they are afraid of him. He would love to know them better, and teach them about the Creator God he loves and serves.
Essential Info: Little is known of Jem’s background and family history, except that as an Aboriginal, his people have lived in Yuin country for many generations. It is possible that his ancestors were of another indigenous tribe and came to the area some time ago. Either way, Jem is in love with the land and its people. He knows everything there is to know about the natural world, is an expert bushman, and feels truly at home in the wilds. Contrary to popular belief, Jem is not a cruel killer. He only hunts feral animals that destroy the forests and the native creatures that live there – animals like goats, deer, foxes, wild dogs and cats.
Strengths: Wise, thoughtful, caring and observant.
Weakness: Jem is super quiet and when he does speak, he can seem a little gruff. This can scare people off, but underneath, he’s a bit of a softie.
Fun Fact: Jem is very clever with his hands and is always making things. He especially likes carving models of the animals and birds he sees in the forest.

Grace Campbell
Grace is tall and slender, with a bright and chirpy nature and a spontaneous personality. She loves to laugh and she also loves the excitement she gets from horse riding and competing in all sorts of equestrian events from dressage and showjumping to gymkhanas. Her family are quite well off, and though her Mum seems a little “posh”, she’s really quite nice.
Name Meaning: The name Grace means goodness and generosity. The Latin ‘gratia’ is connected with “God’s grace,” while in Greek mythology the name relates to joy, elegance and beauty, all of which fit this Grace perfectly. 
Age: 13
Hair Colour: Sun-bleached blonde
Eye Colour: Green
Likes: Horses, horses, and oh, did we mention horses.
Essential Info: Grace and her younger brother James live on the property just up the road from Stephanie and her parents. She became friends with Steph soon after she moved into the area and even taught her to ride. Riding really is her thing, as all the ribbons, rosettes and trophies decorating her room attest. One other thing she loves is a good mystery. Grace grabs hold of any rumour or story of strange goings-on in the district and endlessly speculates about what “might have happened.” You can pretty much guarantee she’ll take off to investigate every local mystery or spooky happening, even though it’s bound to fascinate and scare her all at the same time.
Strengths: Fun-loving and generous, kind and care-free, likely to stick up for others.
Weakness: Tends to believe every rumour and story that comes along, no matter how unlikely or far-fetched.
Fun Fact: Even though Grace loves a spooky story, she’s totally scared of the dark, a fact that her little brother James uses to great advantage.

James Campbell
James is Grace’s younger brother, but don’t for a minute think that he’s the tag-along kid brother. He can ride almost as well as Grace, and like his sister, he loves to solve riddles and puzzles, but with one key difference. Where Grace is more than happy to accept even the most sensational explanations, James is more interested in the facts. James is smart, and quirky and funny. If Steph is the brains of the group, and Grace is the heart, then James is the eyes. He’s also that guy with the backpack that has absolutely whatever you need inside of it. If you’re hungry, he’s got food. If you need a torch or a pocket knife, he’s got that too. He’s like a 10-year-old MacGyver.
Name Meaning: The English name James comes from an older Hebrew name Jacob. In the Bible Jacob was the younger twin brother to Esau, who was born holding onto his brother’s heel. In the story, the younger twin grew to become greater than his older sibling. James likes to remind Grace of this idea from time to time. 
Age: 10
Hair Colour: Dark brown
Eye Colour: Hazel
Likes: Ginger beer and doughnuts, and gadgets of all types.
Essential Info: James is small, fast, has sharp eyes and a quick mind. Sure, he’s more on the quiet side, but he’s a thinker and a doer. He couldn’t be more different to his sister in some respects; you’re more likely to hear her before you see her. James just quietly goes about his business, but when you need him, he’s there with the right answer and a workable solution for whatever problem you have. He is totally the guy you want to have with you if you get into a jam. Mainly because it just doesn’t occur to him to get scared. He just checks everything out, comes up with a plan and rolls it out. Cool under pressure – that’s James.
Strengths: Observant, innovative and creative. He has a talent for coming up with unconventional solutions to difficult problems.
Weakness: Not good with new people, always brings too much stuff, gets frustrated with people who can’t see what is to him, the obvious answer.
Fun Fact: James’ ever-present backpack is full of every imaginable item. If you want it or need it, doesn’t matter what it is, he’ll have it in there somewhere. His secret talent is putting all sorts of things together that were never designed to go together, and creating something amazing. He’s just that cool.

Dolly is quite old now and she has been a working horse all her life. The local kids all know and love her, and most took their first riding lessons with her. In fact, many would say it was actually Dolly that “taught” them to ride. Dolly had been hoping to enjoy some quiet, lazy days around the farm with her owner, Hank, but then Ethan showed up. Now she has a new person to break in, and teach the finer arts of riding and horse care. She’s not altogether sure about Ethan. He seems a little stupid to her, but time will tell.
Name Meaning: The name Dolly is short for English name “Dorothy” which means “gift of God.” Dolly truly is a gift to all who have known and been loved by her. Ethan knows this better than anyone.
Age: 20
Colour: Shaggy brown
Eye Colour: An intelligent gold colour, almost human looking
Likes: Carrots, apples, oat mash, roses and ornamental shrubbery, and riding under low tree branches with beginner riders on her back.
Essential Info: There are some things you absolutely need to know about Dolly if you are going to try to ride her. For a start, she’s super smart, and quite sensitive. And like many horses, she can read her “would-be” rider like a book. If you’re scared, she’ll know it. If you are impatient or cruel, she can sense it. And if you dare to climb on her back without asking her permission, then look-out, and don’t say you weren’t warned. She’ll ride under the nearest low-hanging tree branch and knock you off. She will reward kindness with kindness, loyalty with loyalty, as Ethan found out, to his advantage.
Strengths: Dolly is strong, wise and resolute. More importantly, she is fiercely loyal.
Weakness: Her appetite often gets her into trouble. She has a particular weakness for ornamental roses. Opening gates.
Fun Fact: Dolly is a horse who thinks she’s a human, but behaves more like a dog.

Lachlan (Lachie) Anderson
Lachie is tall and lanky, with shaggy, dark hair that always seems to be in his eyes. He tends to be more serious and is quite happy with his own company. Typically, he’s dressed in a flanno shirt, oil-stained jeans and work boots. You see, Lachie likes nothing better than working on his motorbike, or the HQ ute he’s doing up. He’s just as happy building new things, or fixing old things—he’s really good at both. Being a local, he knows the area really well. Lachie often goes shooting with his uncle Jem, in an attempt to keep the feral population of goats, foxes, pigs and cats under control.
Name Meaning: The name Lachlan is a Scottish nickname for a person of Nordic or Viking descent. In Scotland, Norway was known as fjord-land or the land of the lochs— Lochlann.
Age: 16
Hair Colour: Dark brown
Eye Colour: Brown
Likes: Lachie is a bit of an adventurer and likes things that go fast, like his old Honda 250 bike, his Holden ute, and the sailing boat he’s building in the shed at home. Most of all, he loves the land and the creatures that live in it.
Essential Info: Lachie’s great-great grandfather emigrated from the Orkney Islands (Stromness) where his family had run guesthouses. He came to Australia, bought a small parcel of land on the stage coach route and built the “Stromness Guesthouse.” This is the original guesthouse Stephanie’s family now own. Over time he purchased more land including the property now owned by Grace and James’ family. Lachie’s mum was half Aboriginal, and her family had lots of land in the area too, including the entire coastal strip, part of which she handed over to the National Park. Lackie’s Mum died of cancer a few years ago and he really misses her. Being half-Aboriginal, she taught Lachie to love the land and to care for it. Together, they shared a dream to return the de-forested land back to its natural state. She also taught Lachie about Jesus, and her love for Him has now influenced Lachie’s own faith.
Strengths: Lachie is super practical and very clever with wood, steel, and all types of mechanical things. If it’s broken, he can probably fix it. He can shoot, fish, ride, drive 4WD’s, sail, mend a fence, or fell a tree. You might also say he’s your typical outdoorsy, country boy with solid old-fashioned values. He’s brave, loyal, honest and generous. If you were in a jam, he’d be there for you, no-questions asked. He’s absolutely the kind of friend you’d want to have. He’s also very proud of his blended Viking-Indigenous heritage.
Weakness: He can be a little impatient and gets easily frustrated, especially with his Dad, who has very different views to Lachie about how to treat the environment.
Fun Fact: Lachie has his L plates and is doing up an old Holden utility.

Judah (Jude) Hunter
Jude (don’t you dare call him Judah) is Ethan’s older brother. He has dark hair with pale skin and eyes that are almost black. Jude is tall and thin, and kind of quiet, even though he actually has a light hearted, and positive view of the world. Jude is doing his final year of school in Melbourne, and being a lot more studious than his kid brother, plans on going to university following school. Jude didn’t have a lot of time for Ethan before the family headed for the bush, so he’s looking forward to spending time with him over the year end break. In fact, after a hard year of study and exams, he’s looking for an adventure and is up for pretty much anything.
Name Meaning: Judah is from the old Hebrew Yehudah which means “praised.” In the Old Testament Judah is the fourth of the twelve sons of Jacob by his wife Leah, the ancestor of the tribe of Judah, and the one whose name was eventually given to the entire Jewish nation. It is also a name associated with thanksgiving and strength – something Jude likes to remind Ethan of. Ethan, on the other hand prefers to remind his brother that Judah is also linked with the names Judith and Judas. He has been known to call his older brother by either name, depending on his mood and the circumstances.
Age: 18
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Likes: His car, his car, and also his car. Oh – he also likes his car seat covers and his car stereo. He’s saving up for some killer spot lights for (you guessed it) his car!
Essential Info: Unlike all the other kids, Jude still lives in Melbourne with some family friends while he finishes off year 12. Being a few years older than the rest, he has his driver’s license and an old car (an ancientToyota Camry wagon – the most uncool car ever). The idea is that once he’s done with school, he will be coming to the old guest house to live with the rest of the family until the university results come out and he makes his plans for next year. Engineering is his thing, so he’s hoping for a placement at Monash, RMIT or the Australian National University in Canberra.
Strengths: Jude is thoughtful, generous, positive, and always happy to help out. He’s also very loyal to his family, although like any older brother, he does enjoy roughing up his younger brother (in a tough-love sort of way).
Weakness: He has an obsessive, almost unhealthy over-protectiveness when it comes to his car.
Fun Fact: Jude treats his car almost like a girlfriend, and won’t tolerate any criticism of it. He’s also attempting to grow a moustache, but so far it just looks like a dirty mark above his lip.

Swoop the Magpie
Swoop is a young, male ‘black-backed’ magpie of the type commonly found throughout much of central and eastern Australia. Being just a “young fella” as Jem would call him, he has spent most of his life living in a large family group, and part of his work has been to help defend his group’s territory against intruders like other magpies, or even people like Ethan who come too close to his family’s nests. As a result Swoop is pretty aggressive, especially to anyone coming into what he considers “his patch.” So watch out…! If you get too close, expect to get swooped!
Name Meaning:      Swoop came by his name for obvious reasons (you can read the story on page XX of Hunter and the Forgotten Treasure). Australian magpies got their name because they reminded early settlers of the European Magpies from their home countries. The two birds are actually not related. The word “pie” comes from the Latin word “pica”, meaning black-and-white, or pied.
Age: 4
Feather Colour: Black and White
Eye Colour: Reddish-brown
Likes: Food mostly. Swoop isn’t big on vegetarian food, but loves cooked mince, and sausages if he can pinch one from your BBQ.
Essential Info: Lots of us have magpies like Swoop in our gardens or streets. Most of the year they are loveable and funny companions, but during nesting season (June to December), they can get quite aggressive. Hats and open umbrellas are the best protection, but it’s a good idea to get out of their territory as fast as you can or they’ll just keep swooping. Magpies also have really long memories, especially for faces. They have been known to remember the faces of people who have mistreated them for years, and will attack them every time they see them. They can also be super friendly to people who have been kind to them, or offered them food. So, if you want to make friends with a magpie, try leaving out a tub of water in the warmer months, and healthy snacks in the cooler part of the year. And as Ethan learned, never throw stones at them. Lots of people feed the magpies that visit their yards. It is really important to think about what you feed them. People often offer magpies bread crusts, cake crumbs, or processed meat. As a result, lots of magpies have high cholesterol. If you want to feed a magpie, the best things to give them are wet or dry cat and dog food, but never feed magpies raw meat. Of course, the best option is always what nature provides. Magpies naturally feed on the ground, picking over lawns and turning over loose garden material looking for worms, grubs, insects, spiders, lizards, mice and as a last resort, seeds. Magpies especially love those little black lawn beetles (scarabs) that pop up from time to time.
Strengths: Magpies are very loyal. Just like dogs, if you become their friend, they will be your friend for life. They may even introduce their babies to you.
Weakness: Magpies have very little road-sense, so lots of them get hit by cars. Also, their love of fresh meat often gets them into trouble. They often get poisoned after eating mice, sparrows, rats, and even rabbits that have been baited by pest-controllers.
Fun Facts: Despite the whole car thing, Magpies are super smart. Magpies love to play games like “hide and seek.” In one back yard, a battle took place between a cat and a magpie. The cat hated the magpie, and the magpie hated the cat, so it called out the name of the family dog. The dog came running, chased the cat away, and the magpie stayed.

Bentley Ford
Bentley is another new kid at Mystery Cove Primary School, and it’s likely that he’ll only be there a couple of terms—his family moves around a lot. An only child, Bentley has red hair and freckles, is a little short for his age and somewhat inclined to plumpness. He’s very aware of the little extra weight he carries, but with an overprotective mum, a dad who’s away all the time, no siblings to play with, and little chance to make new friends, he doesn’t get out much and hasn’t really gotten into sports. He doesn’t say much about himself, but if he did open up, he’d tell you he was lonely and sad, and just wanted a mate to hang around with.
The Name: A Bentley is a super-luxurious type of car but it was also a name used in old English for both people and places. It literally means a forest clearing covered with coarse grass. Some people have rather unkindly suggested that Bentley’s parents gave him the name when they saw the thick thatch of wiry red hair that covered his head even as a baby.
Age: 11
Hair Colour: Ginger
Eye Colour: Pale blue
Likes: Feeling welcome and included. Learning new things. Reading adventure stories. Taking pictures of things that catch his eye. Staying in one place for more than a few months.
Essential Info: Bentley is a great kid who hasn’t had a lot of breaks. It’s almost as if his circumstances have conspired against him, making him a target for loneliness and bullying. His dad works as doctor doing short stints in regional hospitals, so Bentley and his Mum and Dad are constantly on the move. Money doesn’t seem to be a problem, but making friends is. Because they are both “new,” Ethan and Bentley are thrust together a lot at school. This frustrates Ethan a lot because he’s also trying hard to fit in, and having Bentley tagging along isn’t helping. Bentley is more than happy to hang out with Ethan, hoping desperately that they can be friends. His disappointment is huge when Ethan ditches him, leaving him in the clutches of Zeke and his “gorillas.”
Strengths: Strong is a word not usually used for Bentley, but he is actually quite brave; he just hasn’t had the opportunity to show it yet. He has developed an inner toughness, and has learned to shrug off nasty comments and jokes at his expense. Because he doesn’t really have many friends, he really values the ones he does have. Loyalty is a huge thing for him. He is also super curious, and knows lots about lots. Many other valuable qualities will be revealed as his confidence grows.
Weakness: When Bentley gets nervous he talks a lot, often says exactly the wrong thing, and has a way of asking so many questions one after the other that he ends up annoying people. He is also inclined to be a bit whiney if things don’t go his way.
Fun Fact: No-one really knows this about Bentley, but he has a keen eye for a great photograph. He mostly uses an old phone to take pictures, but because he spends a lot of time on his own, just watching stuff going on around him, he’s developed a talent for street photography. (Author’s Note: this might come in very handy later.)

Zeke Matthews
Zeke Matthews thinks he’s king of the castle. Actually it’s not true, but some would say he’s king of year six at Mystery Cove Primary School. At first glance you would think Zeke has it all. He’s not especially tall or athletic, but he’s got the swagger. He’s got the look. He’s got the winning smile. He’s always surrounded by a flock of eager admirers wanting to be noticed. Sure, he can turn on the charm, but dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover it’s all an act. Zeke can turn mean in an instant if you cross him, and seems capable of dreaming up a never-ending supply of miserable ideas tailored especially to torment his teachers and classmates. The smart ones stay out of his way.
Name Meaning: Zeke is short for Ezekiel, an ancient Hebrew name meaning “God strengthens.” In the Truth Codex, Ezekiel was a prophet of God, taken as a captive to Babylon after the city of Jerusalem was conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar. He wrote the Book of Ezekiel while a prisoner. Zeke could learn a lot about gaining strength from God and standing up to the bullies (rather than becoming one) by considering the life of the man he was named after.||
Age: 11
Hair Colour: Brown
Eye Colour: Brown
Likes: Having an audience, feeling popular and being in control. Seeing fear in other people’s eyes, rather than the eyes looking back at him from the mirror.
Essential Info: Zeke’s dad abandoned he and his mum when he was quite little and it still hurts. He presents himself as a tough guy, but like most bullies, he’s actually afraid inside. He’s scared of lots of things – bees, ghosts, being left alone with his thoughts, having to face up to the person he is. Most of all Zeke is afraid of his Mum’s boyfriend. The guy works as a security guard and the job sucks. He gets angry at the drop of a hat. It’s worse when he drinks alcohol, which is pretty much all the time. When he gets angry and the hate overflows he goes looking for Zeke. You don’t always notice the bruises because Zeke has gotten pretty good at hiding them, but you can’t miss a black eye. The beatings his have taught Zeke one thing. His Mum’s boyfriend hates him and his dad took off, so he must be a hateful person. The tough-guy attitude is really a mask he wears to cover up the frightened little boy he is inside. The easy smile masks an inner sadness. The cocky attitude is a cover for a boy looking for genuine friendship. The meanness is a front for a kid feeling all kinds of pain.
Strengths: Zeke is smart, and really funny. People naturally gravitate towards him. It’s just a shame he resorts to sarcasm to cut people down, when he could so easily bring genuine joy to others and a smile to their faces. What Zeke doesn’t realise is that he’s a natural-born leader, and given the opportunity and a chance to prove himself, he could do great things. He just needs to discover how valuable a person he really is – a boy, soon to be a man, and made in the image of God.
Weakness: If you were to pick one word to describe Zeke, it would probably be “sly.” Despite the laughing eyes, he has the guilty look of a fox, caught in the act of stealing the chickens. He’s also a bit of a coward who surrounds himself with “muscle” in the form of Max and Rex. Having them at his side to fight his fights means he doesn’t have to man-up himself.
Fun Fact: Zeke is a really good cook. After his dad took off and with his mum working long hours to support them, he had to look after himself.

Barry Parata
Barry has been at Mystery Cove Primary for most of his life. The oldest of five kids, he is quiet and a little small for his age. In a house full of people, he still feels lonely sometimes and a bit awkward around people he doesn’t know. Barry ends up being targeted by Zeke and his gang to be a bit of a “finder.” If they want something, they send Barry out to get it. Most of the time, he just goes along with it. They also use him to take the fall for their bad behaviour, so Barry often finds himself in trouble for things the other boys have done.
The Name: The name Barry is very old and has Irish and Celtic origins. Some say it means a “spear”, others say it means a “marksman.” Either way, it’s pretty neat. Barry’s last name is Parata, which is his Maori dad’s family name. Parata means “brother.” Again, pretty cool seeing Barry is one of 5 brothers.
Age: 11
Hair Colour: Brown
Eye Colour: Brown
Likes: Barry loves peace and quiet. Living is such a busy, bustling house, times alone are rare, but when he gets a quiet moment he loves to walk in the bush and search out the creatures that live in it. He is especially fond of all the colourful birds that live around his house.
Essential Info: Half Kiwi and half Aussie, sometimes Barry doesn’t really know where he fits in. Maybe because of this, he’s been willing to go along with Zeke and his mates, but lately he’s feeling a bit “over it.” In his heart, he knows it’s time for a change. His dad is a New Zealander who moved from Kaitaia (pronounced ky-ty-ah) at the top of the North Island to Australia to manage a dairy near Mystery Cove. Barry’s mum is a research scientist at Wollongong University, but now stays home to look after their large family. Barry loves Australia, but often wonders about his Maori heritage and would love to visit his ancestral homeland.
Strengths: Even though the bushfire really scared him, Barry faced his fear and went out to help his protect family and try to save their house, suffering burns as a result. That took real courage. He also endured his treatment in hospital without complaint or cry of pain. Barry is one tough kid.
Weakness: If Barry has a weakness it is probably that he is easily led. He doesn’t Zeke and his goons all that much, he just “goes with the flow.” But those days are coming to an end. His bushfire experience made Barry realise he is stronger than he thought. It’s time to quit following and step up to something better.
Fun Fact: Barry is like the best tree-climber EVER! He is agile and has great balance, and can scamper up even the toughest tree easily. This skill will undoubtedly come in handy during his adventures.

Bridie Anderson
Bridie Anderson was a sweet young girl who lived over 150 years ago. She was the only child born to Sven and Ingalisa Anderson. Bridie’s parents came to Australia from Stromness, in the Orkney Islands (way up at the top of the world above Scotland), but Bridie was born here. This makes her a first generation Australian, something she was very proud of. While her dad was a big strong man, Bridie took more after her mother. She was small and delicate, with a ready smile and a delightful tinkling laugh that bubbled up whenever she met new families staying at the old Coach House, or when her pet kangaroo Cyril, snuck up behind her in the garden and gave her a fright.
Name Meaning: Bridie is short for Bridget and was a common name in the British Isles from the 17th century on. It comes from an old Irish name Brighid which means ‘the high one’ or ‘strength.’ Brighid was a character from Celtic mythology – the goddess of fire and poetry. Despite her illnesses, Bridie Anderson has an inner strength that keep her going, a fire inside that comes from Jesus her Saviour.
Age: 12
Hair Colour: Light brown
Eye Colour: Blue
Likes: Bridie loves all living things – her family, her friends at Church, even the notorious Clarke brothers (who have always been kind to her, but mean to almost everybody else). She loves the animals who visit her as she works in her garden, and the flowers and vegetables she grows. Most of all she loves Jesus, and she longs to meet him one day.
Essential Info: Bridie died a long time ago, way back in 1861. When the Hunter kids were searching for the bushrangers’ forgotten treasure, the trail led them to Bridie Anderson’s grave (see Hunter and the Forgotten Treasure p.71). Later on, Stephanie found Bridie’s diary in a dusty old chest tucked away in one of the sheds at the Stromness Guest House. Bridie had carefully made her diary all by herself, and used it to write down her most private thoughts. Stephanie was deeply moved as she held the old book, delicately laced together with a sky-blue ribbon, and hand decorated with pictures Bridie had painted herself. Reading Bridie’s last words affected her in much the same way as the inscription on Bridie’s grave caused Ethan to examine his life, and consider what he believed about God and Jesus second coming. Bridie’s words from 150 years ago made Stephanie feel an instant connection with this girl from the past. They were both artists. They both loved the Australian bush. They were the same age, they had both lived in the very same bedroom, and they even had the same long wavy hair. Stephanie wondered what else they had in common, and what she could learn from Bridie and her total trust in Jesus.
Strengths: Bridie is unendingly positive, and manages to see something good in almost every situation. She also sees the best in people. Perhaps that’s why she likes Thomas and John Clarke and offers to pray for them, even though she suspects they might be bushrangers. She also has faith that somewhere, somehow, God can bring something good out of even the most terrible things. How surprised she would be to learn how much joy her diary brought to Stephanie so many years after she wrote it.
Weakness: All of Bridie’s weaknesses have to do with her health. She loves being outdoors with the birds, the animals and her garden, but the cool and often wet climate of south New South Wales has led to many colds and even pneumonia on one or two occasions. Looking back, we now know that it was a particularly bad fever that ended Bridie’s life just before her 13th birthday.
Fun Fact: Bridie didn’t only grow vegetables to eat and beautiful flowers in her garden. She had a special interest in growing herbs for healing and other plants useful as natural remedies.

Lexie Kara
Lexie is Stephanie’s best friend at school Along her other friends Emma and Abbie, they make up an awesome foursome, and have shared some great adventures together. Lexie is also active in her church, the same one Stephanie and Ethan go to at Cobargo. She sings in the worship services, and with her little brother Joel, collects the offerings each week. Lexie is bright and cheerful, and always looks for the good in people, even if she has to be patient and dig deep to find it. She’s a town girl, and has lived in Mystery Cove all her life with her mum and dad, her brother Joel, a dog called Chewie and a budgie called Hector.
Name Meaning: Lexie is short for Alexandra, a name she shares with her grandmother. Before she died, Lexie’s yia-yia (grandma) told her their name means “defender of man” and made Lexie promise to always look out for people in trouble. She takes this very seriously. In its shortened form, her last name Kara means the “one who is pure.” Lexie Kara – the name suits her perfectly.
Age: 13
Hair Colour: Dark brown
Eye Colour: Brown
Likes: Music and ice-cream. Lexie has a great voice and loves to sing. She sings in her room. She sings in the shower. She sings at the breakfast table and the bus stop. Most importantly, she sings at church, leading the little group as they praise God.}
Essential Info: Lexie is an Aussie girl through and through, though her grandparents (on her dad’s side) came out from Greece after World War 2 to make a new beginning. Their original family name was Karatasos, but they shortened it to Kara when they emigrated. Lexie’s pa-pous (grandpa) likes to think their family tree links them to Dimitrios Karatasos, a revolutionary who fought in the Greek war of independence in the early 1800s. Lexie prefers to think of herself more as a peacemaker than a rebel, though she is feisty and brave. She has no problem declaring her belief in God, and as we know from reading Hunter and the Haunted Halls, she doesn’t hesitate to face up to bullies like Zeke, or be a friend to new kids like Bentley and Ethan.
Strengths: Lexie has a way of making people see things in themselves they might never have noticed before. Remember when Lexie told Bentley he was great at archery? She encouraged him in his dream to aim for the Olympics. She totally believed he could do it. Perhaps someday he will.
Weakness: She can be a little noisy. If she’s not talking, she’s singing. If she’s not singing, she’s talking. If she’s not talking or singing, she’s probably eating ice-cream.
Fun Fact: After some hard talking, Lexie managed to convince her brother Joel to get a guitar, so now he’s taking lessons and they’re planning on performing a special song together at church. Music runs in their family.

The Creepy Anteekies
The Hunter kids got their first whiff of trouble from the Creepy Anteekies when Stephanie was almost knocked over by the strange couple at Nerrigunda. The crew had been chasing up the first clue to the Clarke brothers’ gold (see Hunter and the Forgotten Treasure p.24). She never forgot the smell of mothballs. A few days later the kids were bidding online for some old scales for Aunt Elaine. An unknown buyer called ANTEEK60 kept bidding against them (p.40). The next time Ethan and Stephanie crossed paths with the Anteekies was at the ruined Cape St George lighthouse (p.57). Mothballs again. Not long after that, the pair showed up at the Stephanie’s home in their old black van (p.102). The kids spotted the same car parked behind Pandora’s Parlour the day Ethan and Stephanie discovered the missing guest book from the Stromness Guest House (p.136). The distinctive ANTEEK number plates were a dead giveaway. Putting two-and-two together, they realized it was the Creepy Anteekies who had been dogging their steps throughout the race to the forgotten treasure (p.171). If not for Jem, they would have lost the treasure for good, but the game wasn’t over yet. The Hunter kids know it, but their troubles with the Creepy Anteekies were just beginning.
Name Meanings: Known as the Creepy Anteekies by the Hunter friends, individually the pair are thought of as Mothball Woman and Safari Man.
Age: Mid 30s
Hair Colour:    Black for her, and thinning brown for him.
Eye Colour:     Violet for her, and pale blue for him.
Likes: Doing the wrong thing. Old things of all types. Sphinx cats.
Essential Info: Even though the children don’t know their names, there is no missing the Creepies—their fashion sense alone makes them stand out in a crowd. Mrs Creepy has long black hair, a pale white face and thin cruel lips plashed with deep red lipstick. She has a passion for wearing vintage clothing and as a result, usually smells like mothballs (a smell Stephanie now hates). Deep purple and black are her favourite colours. Mr Creepy dresses like an escapee from a 1940s Tarzan movie, wearing a beige safari suit and helmet. He wears large plastic rimmed glasses and sports a droopy moustache. The car and their cat complete the picture. Not your average delivery van for these guys. Oh no—they drive a black 1959 FC Holden hearse (that’s a funeral car in case you were wondering). Their cat is something else too. He’s a hairless Egyptian Sphinx – possibly the creepiest breed on the planet. Despite thinking they are very clever, the Creepies’ schemes always come undone. They are the ultimate bumbling bandits, completely clumsy con-artists, dim-witted delinquents, hare-brained hooligans.
Strengths: The Creepies are single-minded and relentless in what they do. They are also quite inventive, continually coming up with new ways of achieving their grubby goals. You could almost admire these character traits under other circumstances, but sadly the Creepies use their talents for all the wrong things. Greed overrules good choices every time.
Weakness: Like bad apples, these guys are rotten to the core. Their selfishness knows no bounds. If there is a way to make a fast dollar at the expense of others, they will choose it every time. They have no empathy or feeling for others—people or animals (even their own cat). It is hardly surprising illegal animal trafficking seems like a great idea to them.
Fun Fact: The Creepy Anteekies named their antique shop Pandora’s Parlour. Mothball Woman probably picked the name because it sounded thrilling and mysterious, but as usual, she has it all wrong. The name Pandora comes from the ancient world of Greek myths and legends. In the story, Pandora was a beautiful woman who was given a little box with a big lock on it by Zeus. Zeus had said the box was never to be opened, but Pandora stole the key and opened it. Quick as a flash, out flew every kind of trouble imaginable – greed, envy, sickness, hate, disease, hunger, poverty, war and death. She slammed the lid back down, but it was too late. Troubles flew around Pandora like mosquitos, and try as she might, she couldn’t put them back in the box. She had let loose a world of suffering. It’s a shame Mothball Woman and Safari Man didn’t think more about the story of Pandora. They might have learned that once done, evil deeds can’t be put back. Interestingly, the last thing to came out of the box was hope. Our hope lies in Jesus. Jesus will forgive us, but the consequences of sin remain – just look at the scars on Jesus’ hands and feet.