The author's family has a shack (holiday home) on Bruny Island - an island off the southeast coast of Tasmania that is reached by vehicular ferry. They own to the high tide mark on the beach and have spent every major holiday and many weekends there. The author grew up fishing, cray fishing, floundering and shooting - there was no distinction between boys and girls, you were just you. She was an only child for 12½ years and very much her father's shadow. Probably good training as she had two boys herself. She also has always had dogs - still has two black Labradors that go down with her. The land was originally owned by James Kelly, first Harbour Master of Hobart and first native-born Master Mariner and an early participant in bay whaling. She loves to fish and has always spent her life in boats. In the summer she goes out after cray fish and squid as well. Where they set the cray pots is in view of the Iron Pot Lighthouse (which her first book was) and the old Pilot Station (which her second book was based on) is visible from their shack. She is a member of the Bruny Island Historical Society and manages a site called Variety Bay which has the remains of an 1831 pilot station and a convict church. She was a primary school teacher for over 30 years like her mother and grandmother before her. When she wrote her first two books, she was invited to present talks to various groups such as Probus, Historical Societies and University of the 3rd Age - this helped sell books and got her used to public speaking. From this she ended up doing "talks" for ABC Radio on a variety of historical topics. She has been married for over 40 years and has two grandchildren - her granddaughter is also keen on history. She spends the rest of her time in a hillside suburb of Hobart called Mount Stuart and is about five minutes from the bush. She thought she would tell you a little about herself as she may be a little different to some authors you've dealt with.
Whales, Maidens and Gold
Henry Williams emigrated to Van Diemen's Land in 1831 with his family at age 5. His father was a boat-builder and his mother died when he was only 10. His brothers were all occupied with the sea whether as boat-builders or sailors, so it came as no surprise when he signed up on a whaler while still ...