Thursday, October 22, 2020

Children's Book Week

Being celebrated around Australia this week is  Children's Book Week. My involvement with the event goes back to 1967 when I was a Library Assistant at Waverley Library. I remember Book Week Parades held in the Pavilion at Bondi Beach. When I moved on to be Children's Librarian at Randwick Library we held these events in the Randwick Town Hall. My memories of these times are foggy but I remember colouring in and poster competitions, book quizzes, kids dressed up as book characters, readings of prize-winning books and events featuring favourite authors and storytellers.

I have no pictorial evidence of these early events but in digging into my photo archive I found a few photos of the times in the 1980s,1990s and early 2000s when I was part of the Children's Book Week celebrations.

Book Week visit from a neighbouring school - 1988

Book fun with Library Monitors - 1995

Story telling - 1999

Illustrator, Ron Brooks - 2001

Library Display - 2001

Author Visit - Undated

Library Staff - 2003

Prize-winning books - 2004
Isobelle Carmody book signing - 2005 

Book Fair - 2006

Library Staff - 2008

Thursday, October 15, 2020

From Distress to Deliverance

In Covid times The Hawkesbury Family History Group has been holding its meetings both in person and via zoom and inviting interested genealogists to attend their meetings virtually. When I lived in Sydney I attended their meetings in person but, as I have moved away from the big smoke, I have not attended recently. One of the benefits of Covid is that I can now take advantage of the Group's excellent program. Their September speaker was Heather Garnsey and in November it will be Kerry Farmer who are both excellent, established presenters.

Yesterday Stephen Gow, a descendant of a Hawkesbury convict, spoke about the new book he has written about the life and times of that ancestor, William Gow. Stephen gave a most informative and interesting presentation in which he shared some information about the Gow family and discussed the planning, writing and publishing process of his book "From Distress to Deliverance". Stephen's Powerpoint presentation was rich in relevant images and light on text, it demonstrated how a slideshow can enhance a verbal presentation. I learnt some valuable tips on producing a high quality publication from Stephen's talk.
At the conclusion of his talk Stephen indicated that, as a self-publisher, he didn't have a formal distribution network for this book. Some copies are available from the Hawkesbury Regional Museum, alternatively intending purchasers can email Stephen at to organise delivery. I immediately emailed Stephen as I wanted to ensure that I snagged one of the three hundred copies from the limited print run.

I was surprised that I got an immediate response from Stephen, who said he would be passing close to Lake Macquarie today on his way home to Armidale. He offered to deliver a copy of the book to save me postage on the item. It's just an hour since Stephen popped in to deliver the book and have a chat.

Image: Courtesy Stephen Gow

I haven't had time to read the book yet but I am already impressed. "From Distress to Deliverance" is a solid tome, weighty in both form and content. A thing of beauty, it has a hardcover and is larger than A4 size, printed on thick paper, the layout is well executed and it is overflowing with colourful and clear illustrations. What warmed the cockles of this old librarian's heart are the features that make it easy to access and understand the information within its solid covers: a contents' page, conversion tables, references at the end of each chapter, a bibliography and source list, family history pages and a detailed index. This book will be too weighty for bedtime reading, I may even have to place it on a table to read comfortably but I know that it will be a rewarding experience. 

Congratulations, Stephen, on producing such a superb work. It is a testament to your passion for family and local history.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

An Invitation for You

 I attended my first DNA talk in Australia ten years ago in October 2010.Here is what I wrote on this blog after the event:

The last talk I attended certainly was the jewel in the crown of a fantastic day. Kerry Farmer presented a talk on "DNA and genealogy". I am scientifically illiterate but came away from Kerry's talk feeling as though I had a basic grasp of the concepts she had outlined. Kerry was a calm and competent speaker who was exceptionally well prepared. At the beginning of the talk she shared a wonderful handout, her many slides were attractive and informative and she made those of us in the audience who didn't have a clue about the subject comfortable enough to ask our silly questions.

Ten years down the track Kerry is one of the most knowledgeable Australian presenters in DNA. I am thrilled to be the host for Kerry's session for her talk via Zoom for the Lake Macquarie Family History Group next Saturday. I always learn something new from Kerry.

If you would like to join us for this presentation please contact the email address on the following image.



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