Dumbleyung residents are sure to be fascinated as Western Australian author Linda J Bettenay talks about her latest book at the at the Dumbleyung CRC in May.
After the amazing success of her first book 'Secrets Mothers Keep' Bettenay has recently released 'Wishes For Starlight' a story steeped in our area. The author is a descendent of hills pioneers - the Bettenay family have lived in the area since the 1890s. Thus it is understandable her novels tell stories of the early pioneering days of Western Australia.
The central character in 'Wishes For Starlight' is Starlight; a mixed blood, deaf mute Aboriginal who lived over the period 1889 - 1930s. The plight of the Aboriginal is shown through the prism of the discrimination and racism of the time; the imposition of the 1905 Aborigines Act, the establishment of Aboriginal reserves and the gradual removal of rights from Aboriginal people.
Linda J Bettenay entwines Starlight's life with the three white children who discover him; abandoned and living in a chook pen fighting the dogs for food scraps. These children give him friendship, love, trust and truth and most of all protection from the barbs of the white man's world. Bettenay's latest book is firmly anchored in our area: Gosnells, Canning Mills, Karragullen, Kalamunda, Araluen, Roleystone, Kelmscott and Armadale all feature in this astounding tale which comes from her father's and her grandfather's memories.
Bettenay has tied in many of the major events of the time locally, nationally and internationally. This is the period when 'The War to End all Wars' accounted for the loss and mutilation of many brave soldiers while also seriously impacting those 'left at home' but it also allowed for the blossoming of mateship which allowed many people to face up to the challenges faced by post WW1 Australians.
'Wishes For Starlight' is steeped in our pioneering history: when the orchards, the dams and the timber mills were being established, when typhoid epidemics threatened daily survival and fears of forest fires, destitution and starvation were very real. A time when the Zig Zag railway was built, the horse and cart reigned and barn dances provided entertainment.
Every day life occurs on every page of this book and the reader is transported to a simpler but also much crueller and more confronting time.
Linda J Bettenay will present a talk about her book and she will also explain how she uses historical fact to weave historical fiction.
The talk will be at the Dumbleyung CRC on Thursday May 12, 2016 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm. For any enquiries please ring Alison Peters on 9863 4829. For further details on purchasing the book, go to www.lindasbooks.com.au or visit Linda's Facebook page www.facebook.com/lindasbookswa.
Article by Linda Moore