I love all kinds of writing and story telling – dramatic, informative, humorous, I read it. And I write it. But as a writer, the only thing I want the world to know about me is that I really love what I do. Those of us able to spend our time in this way are the luckiest people of all.
For several years I have concentrated on women’s history – I refer to myself as a Grassroots Women’s Historian.
“Celebrating Bendigo Women”. Most recently I invited several Bendigo women to participate in a book I was planning about the city’s women. Bendigo women, like every where in Australia have been left out of our history, but I knew there were women quietly working away trying to address the in-balance. Fortunately, everyone contributed material dating from the 1850s to the present with the recent stories being in the form of short personal biographies. From this experience I fully realised the multi-tasking, determined, courageous, flexible wonderful women this city has always bred. We have complete female representation at state and federal levels, five female councillors including the current mayor, and our world-class basket ball team “Bendigo Spirit” was named in their honour.
I also dabble in a little fiction and am currently completing one of several novels residing in the ‘bottom draw’.
I have a memoir – My ANZAC Quest – which required several trips to France and which I would love to see made into a film. My ANZAC Quest is based on my great-grandmother -Georgina Midgley, of Bendigo, and my great uncle Henry Foster (pet nameHonkie) who lost his life on the Western Front in one of the most murderous battles of the first world war, and lies at rest in one of the world’s most famous WWI sites, the Fields of Flanders.
I’m often cursed for distracting readers from their work or gardens when they are reading something I’ve written.
I have been publishing for almost thirty years, at first freelance with many articles -mostly under Morgan in the Melbourne Age and ANSETT inflight magazines. Since 1992 I have completed nine books, four of these being commissions and five independently through “Springfield & Hart” my own label.
Having lived most of my life in rural Victoria I have written histories for the Country Women’s Association of Australia (CWAA) and the Country Women’s Association of Victoria. These histories can be found through those organisations. I have also written Caroline Chisholm and the Women of Kyneton 1854-2004, which is available from Amazon as Caroline Chisholm – Her Friends and Foes.
I have compiled and written two books for Victoria’s famous Convent Gallery covering the Presentation Sisters of Daylesford and student lives.
I love personal writing an example of which is the Lola Memoirs, a spoof on my life. Readers love this book and ask if there will be another one? My niece loved Lola so much she even named her daughter after her.
The Lola Memoirs came about as an effort to contribute funds for restoration of the bell tower of St Pauls Cathedral, Bendigo, where I live. My family has been members of St Pauls congregation since the 1870s. My parents were married there in the 1930s, and on the 17th June 2010, my mother’s 90th birthday, I happily donated the sum of $2,000, the full profit from Lola to St Pauls restoration fund. After six years the restoration is complete and the bells peel out across the city again.
In August 2013 I launched Honkie and Ginny – from Black Sheep to Holy Dove. This book is now retitled My ANZAC Quest, and was reprinted in March 2014. Honkie and Ginny – or My ANZAC Quest is a account of the mother on the home front with a son on the western front who lost his life in early August 1917. There is not a woman on the planet who would not relate to her tragic loss and grief.
Since then I have compiled a family history which concentrates on stories written by my cousins about growing up on or holidaying on the farm over the generations.
I have also edited a book “Celebrating Bendigo Women” which details the lives and contribution of Bendigo women since settlement to the new millennium.
To work as a writer is a dream come true. I love writing about women and I hope that
my work makes a difference.