I’m sure that many other places around the world are doing a similar thing – and it would be worth checking out – but here in Canberra the ACT Heritage Library has put out a call for submissions to help correctly document this point in history.
Because we live in an online world now, we’re in danger of losing records of life during the pandemic. History that’s written in books so often misses the human element.
The library is asking for (both paper and digital):
written works such as diaries and recollections
ephemera such as posters, flyers and mail-outs
audio recordings such as oral histories and, recorded recollections
video such as video journals, short films, and digital stories
You can find email and mail addresses HERE.
Photographs from the same spot in Canberra – a few hours apart. The picture HERE is of a waterbomber trying to stop the fires before they hit us. About three hours later, and the fire is here …
One of the American DC-10 water tankers flying directly over my house to the fires near us in Canberra this afternoon. The aircraft activity over the south of Canberra has been running nonstop since before dawn.
It seems so strange to me that in other parts of Canberra nobody would even know any of this is happening …
The sky was crazily blue for the first time in weeks, but the smoke is back now.
The DC-10 – a firefighting water tanker from Alabama, USA – has been flying over my house, to and from the bushfires, for days. I finally got a shot of it just before three this afternoon.
We haven’t had the internet all day because of the bushfires in and around Canberra, but here’s what we were looking at yesterday: the fire coming over the mountains and down towards us. They’ve been waterbombing nonstop since yesterday (including with the big American DC-10), and they stopped the flames before they reached the houses, but we’ve been told the fire is going to burn for weeks.
So, yeah, despite what everyone seems to think, the fires in Australia still very much exist.
The Canberra region has a number of out of control bushfires tonight. The air filled with smoke at sunset, and when I looked outside the entire valley was inundated.
Queanbeyan, New South Wales lies just over the state border from Canberra (about a fifteen-minute drive from where I live). It serves as inspiration for my town in my book, The Landowner’s Secret, which is set in the 1880s and on sale tomorrow! (I don’t use the same place name, however.)
I’ve spent a lot of time in Queanbeyan over the years because I’ve always had family who lived there, and so I know the place very well. I was christened and made my first communion there, in the Ukrainian church my refugee grandfather helped to build. We also have a bit of a family tradition of Friday or weekend lunch at one of the old pubs in town.
However, being able to track down some images of the town from the Victorian era, of the buildings that the reckless developers pulled down in the 1970s, has been invaluable.
Here is John Bull’s Store, circa 1883:
Here is the old post office, built between 1879 and 1880:
And here is Monaro Street, which is still Queanbeyan’s main street, circa 1880. It’s a faded old photo, but I notice the town’s transformation over the 1880s, as the population grew and the railway arrived (in 1887), and I have tried to incorporate that into the series:
More images can be found on the book’s Pinterest board.
New South Wales, 1885
When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.
It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.
What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.
A visit to Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery, just over the border from Canberra, on this beautiful and warm winter afternoon.
This is my view while working on my books today. Winter in Canberra is sunny, warm in the daylight hours, and just gorgeous.