Saturday, 11 May 2013

My Place. My Hometown.


Hi everyone…  The day is fast approaching for the cover artist to begin working on my particular cover [starting 17th May].  For those of you who have already signed in to be notified of all proceedings about the book via the Newsletter, you will soon be rewarded by being the first to know of the launch date.

It’s an exciting time for someone of my years to be starting over, as it were, as I’m sure you will all appreciate.   The possibility of a story going worldwide is today a normal thing for so many people, but for me it’s awe-inspiring and a little over-whelming.  The computer age has been around for a while now, and I’m slowly catching up with it, or some of it, but I am still amazed at what is possible these days.

The second book, on which I am currently working, is under way and progressing nicely.  I am using some of my four years’ experience as a tour guide in Old Government House at Parramatta to garnish the story a little.  The location is well known to me, as is the Dairy Cottage, originally known as Salter’s Cottage, and is an actual historical building close by the House.

George Salter was convicted in March 1788 for his part in the death of two excise men who had caught him and three accomplices smuggling.  The other three were hanged and George was sentenced to seven years’ transportation.   But as a model prisoner he was granted land by the river, and ran a ten acre farm of wheat, and almost twenty acres of maize.  Governor Lachlan Macquarie converted the original one room cottage to a dairy, after George left the area to go to Van Diemen’s Land [Tasmania] around 1815, and various extensions were made after that.  ‘My’ cottage is a little embellished, but the location is correct.

And in my mind’s eye I see the area about which I write, knowing that it has changed remarkably in 200 years, yet staying somewhat near the original state…  What a paradox of words that is!! 

The domain around the House is similar to all those years ago; the river course has barely moved – there is no longer a tiny island near the House that the river used to pass along on both sides; the same river my brother and I used to swim in, train in, when the swimming pool was unavailable; the river where countless fishermen have pulled eels up onto the banks and boiled up in old four gallon drums.  Ugh!  The same river which today provides abundant quantities of very fat carp, caught by Asian men who apparently treat them as a delicacy.  This is all in the fresh water section before the water tumbles over the weir to join the salt water, tidal water, coming in from Port Jackson.

This is where I grew up, where my father took us for walks along the river to places that are no longer accessible to the public; where he taught us some of the history of Parramatta, as he knew it, and won’t be found in any history book.  This is MY place.  My hometown.

T.B.