Archive for May 2014

Peter Freeman’s grand designs

Well known AND local heritage architect Peter Freeman‘s latest book The Wallpapered Manse was reviewed in the Sydney Morning Herald on 17. 5.14. Don’t miss Peter’s session at the Batemans Bay Writers Festival when he joins Patricia Sykes in presenting  Historic places ─ remarkable stories behind two historic Australian buildings.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 10.33.06 pmTHE WALLPAPERED MANSE
By Peter Freeman. The Watermark Press. $49.95

Almost 150 years ago, in 1865, the people of the little coastal town of Moruya were reading in their newspapers of the end of the American Civil War and the assassination of president Abraham Lincoln. But that was an auspicious year for the Presbyterians of the Moruya district because they finished building their church, erected a fine bell to call the faithful to worship, and began the building of a manse for the minister. On the wider scene, the year marked the union of various factions in the Presbyterian denomination.

Peter Freeman is an architect who has for 50 years been involved in architectural conservation, historical research, illustrating and sketching, with 12 books on the Australian architectural heritage, especially in woolsheds and homesteads, to his credit.

Peter Freeman, author of <i>The Wallpapered Manse</i> lives in Moruya.
Peter Freeman, author of The Wallpapered Manse lives in Moruya. Photo: Mark Roper
The Wallpapered Manse gives a beautiful display of his talents in these areas, and is a fascinating read.

The author has written far more than a history of one seemingly insignificant and neglected building in Moruya. In order to understand the manse it is necessary to explore the history of the township and the district and links to the traditional lifestyle and ”contact history” shared by Kooris and the Europeans along the Moruya River and the Moruya Lagoon.

This area has provided economic and spiritual sustenance to Koori people for thousands of years. Archaeological items such as stone artefacts, shell middens and scarred trees reflect this heritage.

Freeman records that there were often close relationships between newly arrived Europeans and the Koori clan, with the latter helping the settlers with gifts of fish and oysters. Sadly, these good relationships did not endure in later years.

The story of the arrival of Presbyterian clergy in the area, led by the famous, or notorious, John Dunmore Lang, is well covered. I found one small factual error. The Reverend William Hamilton of Goulburn did not arrive in Australia with Lang on the ship Portland. He came on the North Briton and later, like so many, clashed with Lang.

There was an old saying that the pioneering Scots stuck together like bricks and in Moruya they intermarried and worked together to build a Presbyterian church and manse.

By 1865, the newly completed manse was ready for the newly arrived minister, the Reverend Mr Fitzgerald. Freeman describes it as it then was, as a “smart and diminutive colonial Georgian cottage sitting high on a granite knoll to the south-west of the small settlement of Moruya.” The residents of the cottage and the church parishioners shared the toilet behind the church.

peterf+studioredPeter Freeman is an architect and his discussion of the plan, the building and the decoration of the manse is masterly. Traces of the old wallpaper that decorated the interior have been discovered and placed in their historical context, and the importance and significance of the wallpaper gives the title of this book.

As well as the fortunes of the Presbyterian parish, the author explores the history of the town and what the author calls the mighty Moruya River, which shaped the town over the last century and a half.

The Presbyterian cause declined over the years and eventually there was no clergyman left in the manse.

In 2009 a For Sale sign appeared and Peter Freeman and his wife Tanny inspected the neglected building and contacted the Historic Houses Trust in Sydney.

The project to restore the manse started. The author has documented in remarkable detail every phase of that restoration with many splendid photographs and careful research.

The Wallpapered Manse is an outstanding example of the skills of a leading conservation architect. Peter Freeman has recorded not only a chapter in church history, but also the story of a town and district on the south coast of NSW.

Sydney Morning Herald
17 May 2014



Fraser Bayley

Fraser BredFraser Bayley has a small family-run mixed farm enterprise called Old Mill Road Bio-Farm that has been providing produce to a local consumer base for eight years. Fraser aims to enrich local food culture, connect small scale farmers to the consumer, and promote the idea that we are not superior to the environment but are part of the ecology. He also conducts workshops on farm consultancies and is active in the local food movement SAGE (Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening Eurobodalla) an education and demonstration site for sustainable agricultural and horticultural practices. Fraser’s family’s philosophy is to lead the good life, from honest means with plenty of good food to eat to inspire them along their road to creating a vibrant, economically, environmentally and socially sustainable business.

Nick Rheinberger

r491264_2590862Nick Rheinberger has worked as a blues singer, children’s entertainer, songwriter and cook, but the one consistent thing in his CV is his work in radio.
Nick started in radio as a comedy writer in Canberra, eventually working as a writer and announcer for stations in Melbourne, Sydney, Geelong and Perth. He started working with the ABC on Overnights, before moving to NSW Statewide Drive, and most recently has been hosting the Morning Show on ABC Illawarra.
Nick has also spent quite a lot of time writing comedy for TV, including working with the first season of BackBerner and the final season of Good News Week. Nick lives in the Southern Highlands of NSW, and enjoys cooking, mucking about with his kids, and playing his collection of big and small stringed instruments.

Robin Innes

46428893Robin Innes of historic Innes Boatshed fame is from one of the Batemans Bay families of fishers and oyster farmers. Robin’s focus will be on the history of fishing in the region, especially the Clyde River.

Food for thought

Join us for a taste of something special from the region and a glass of local wine ─ or two ─ at this highlight event to conclude the Saturday sessions.

Time: 4:45 pm to 6:15pm
Venue: Corrigans Room
Cost: $25  ( Please note that this session is included in the Platinum Pass -$155 )

Marion Halligan

Marion Halligan

Renowned author Marion Halligan’s books often include the great pleasures of food. Marion will speak about the importance of food as a theme in her prolific writing including The Point, about a fictitious restaurant. It is a novel of intricate complexity and wit about our appetites and desires, and the way they irrevocably shape the world.


 Robin Innes of historic Innes Boatshed fame is from one of the Batemans Bay families of fishers and oyster farmers. Robin’s focus will be on the history of fishing in the region, especially the Clyde River.

The Innes Boatshed, Batemans Bay

Innes Boatshed, Batemans Bay

 They are joined by local farmer Fraser Bayley who will speak about the philosophy of growing and using local produce. He will talk about the SAGE (Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening Eurobodalla) Project and Old Mill Road Bio-farm, his family-run small mixed farm enterprise that has been providing produce to a local consumer base for eight years.

Fraser Bred

Fraser and family

Thank God It’s Sunday!

Richard Glover

Richard Glover

A Literary lunch with Richard Glover

Finish the Festival on a high note with the witty and engaging Richard Glover, host of ABC Radio’s Thank God it’s Friday, and author of George Clooney’s haircut and other cries for help. You can be sure of being entertained as Richard chats about his humorous books and laugh-aloud journalist columns. You can also find out Why men are necessary. Many of the authors involved in the Festival will also be at the literary lunch ─ there may be an author at your table.

Date: Sunday 8 June 2014

Time: 1 pm for 1.30 pm to 3 pm

Venue: Batemans Bay Soldiers Club, Beach Road, Batemans Bay

Cost: $40, includes a two-course meal and a glass of bubbly on arrival ─ not to mention the talented and entertaining Richard Glover, the opportunity to purchase Richard’s books and have him sign them.


Attention: Self-published authors

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The natural beauty of the Eurobodalla area has inspired many creative responses

As well as having a great line-up of published authors we would like to invite self-published authors to be involved in the inaugural Batemans Bay Writers Festival.

Expressions of interest are sought from self-publishing authors, to have a presence in the Festival Hub marquee. Bring your books and facilities for sales, and the Festival organisers will provide table space for you in the Festival Hub ─ all adding to the atmosphere and the sharing of experiences.

Space is limited and expressions of interest close on 15 May 2014.

You will be allotted a time on Saturday 7 June between noon and 6.30 pm to promote and sell your books.

Contact us through our website with Self-publishing author in the Subject section of your email:

You may also be interested in booking and attending the session How to get published ─ taking your story further, a panel session from 9.30 am to 10.30 am on Sunday 8 June. See Our Full Program in Program on this website.

A taste of books to come…….

There is something for everyone at the inaugural Batemans Bay Writers Festival.
From Susannah Fullerton’s books on Jane Austen to Jeff Apter’s book ‘ Up From Down Under: How Australian Miusic Changed The World”.


Ensure that you get to the sessions that really appeal by booking your tickets now.

Becoming a text maniac – Annabel Crabb

The Sun-Herald
Sunday, 04.05.2014

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 10.22.55 amIn the past six months, I have slept with more than 160 women. I know: impressive. But I really have. I agreed to be a judge for the Stella Prize – the $50,000 literary award for Australian female writers – and at some point, I suspect just after I signed up, it became clear that this would involve me reading more than 160 books.

So in the past six months I have fallen asleep with my face in biographies, historical adaptations and with bold new voices in fiction lending brilliantly moving and tautly compelling narratives to my dreams. I have curled up with feminist polemics and graphic novels. My bedside table is a tottering tribute to my promiscuity. For months I read and read and read, with an appetite verging on the goatish; on buses, in traffic-stalled taxis, walking along the street, cooking dinner. But at some point each night, usually with my forefinger marking the page and the bedside lamp lightly tanning my eyelids, I inevitably dropped off.

I have learnt many things. I have learnt, for instance, that the very best thing about reading a great book is the same as the very worst thing about reading a bad book: the deep and unshakeable secret suspicion that perhaps if I wrote a book, it would turn out like this one.

When you read as normal human beings read, you are guided by all sorts of unseen forces. You choose things you think you’ll like. You avoid things you just know you’re going to hate. You read things you have to read. And necessarily, it means that you miss out. Increasingly, in recent decades, I have read for business rather than specifically for pleasure. The stack of porky political memoirs, essays, economic treatises, biographies, forensic accounts of the rise of this person and the fall of that one never seems to get any smaller. I should read them all, and I try to, so reading anything outside of politics has over the years – and this has got worse with every baby – started to feel like an indulgence. So I cut back on all those other genres: fiction, fantasy, exercise and diet books, self-help, horror and travel writing. Apart from, of course, Bob Carr’s memoir, which is – happily – all of those things.

So when I signed up for Stella, it was with the inexpressibly sick strategy that if I turned the reading of other books into an actual obligation, I could then enjoy them guilt-free. And it worked like a charm.

Reading as a judge is a completely different sort of experience. Instead of picking your own weird little goat track through the books published in any given year, all of a sudden you’re reading all of them, or at any rate all the ones written by women. This gives you a perspective unavailable to anyone else, apart from a tiny slice of the OCD community and a hardy band of retired English teachers.

All of a sudden, you start to see patterns. There’s the rash of “Every Mother’s Nightmare” books, for which I blame Lionel Shriver, whose 2003 bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin had a separate, but equally stimulatory effect on newspaper headline writers during the Rudd era of government. Then there is a strong contingent of emotionally knotty adventures set in exotic, Third World or geographically distant climes. I blame the artificially depressed price of international airline travel for these, plus the ghostly hand of Michelle de Kretser, who in her Miles Franklin winner Questions of Travel last year did what countless thousands of Australians before her have impotently aspired to do, which is to write a superb novel about backpacking. I am reminded of 1992, when Andrew McGahan’s Praise won the Vogel, and everyone I knew at university – myself included – sat down to write our own gritty works incorporating filthy share houses, doomed love affairs and stoned misadventures. I would like to express my sympathy for any Vogel judge subsequently forced to surf that derivative wave of dirty realism.

Folded inside every great novel are the countless spores of its illegitimate children; now there’s a depressing thought.

CWEurekaRebelsThe best thing, though, was finding some truly spectacular books and knowing that sticking them on the Stella short list would be like sneaking them on to the bedside tables of a vast new group of readers. The winner, Clare Wright, spent 10 years writing a new history of the Eureka Stockade, with all the women put back in. A more pulse-racing work of history than The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka I have not read, and to give people a little push towards it made me feel like Father Christmas. That’s the beating heart of the Stella Prize; it’s a bid not to create quality, but to remind you, by means of a discreet little bookshop cough, where you might easily find it.

We all need a little push.

Annabel Crabb is the host of ABC TV’s Kitchen Cabinet, airing Fridays at 8pm.

Twitter: @annabelcrabb

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Susan Mackenzie

Sue MackenzieSusan Mackenzie,Dip.A.Ed (VA); M.App Sci (Social Ecology); PhD (Social Ecology), has diverse skills and a range of careers behind her, including Art teacher, Education Dept consultant, time in the Public Service and a wide range of experience conducting community workshops, facilitations and courses. Sue was organiser and convenor of an international NGO conference. Through it all she has continued to write poetry and maintained a love of poetry and stories, only recently putting work out for publication, the latest being in the Tanka anthology Ragged Edges. Sue presently runs a U3A course called ‘What’s in a Story?’, about the pervasive influence of telling our stories and listening to others’ stories

Announcing the winner of the 2014 Stella Prize: Clare Wright for The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 3.13.08 pmWe are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2014 Stella Prize is Clare Wright for The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka. We are extremely fortunate in having Clare in our inspirational line-up of authors and presenters at the inaugural Bateman’s Bay Writers Festival.

The winner of the Stella Prize, the major new award for Australian women’s writing, receives $50,000 in prize money. This is the first time a nonfiction work has won the Stella Prize. Last year’s inaugural winner was Carrie Tiffany for her novel Mateship with Birds.

Of the winning book, Kerryn Goldsworthy, chair of the 2014 Stella Prize judging panel, says:

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka sheds a bright new light on a dark old Australian story. In her account of the Eureka Stockade and the years leading up to it, historian Clare Wright revisits that well-trodden territory from an entirely new perspective, unearthing images, portraits and stories of the women of 1850s Ballarat and the parts they played not only in its society but also in its public life, as they ran newspapers, theatres and hotels with energy and confidence.

“A rare combination of true scholarship with a warmly engaging narrative voice, along with a wealth of detail about individual characters and daily life on the goldfields, makes this book compulsively readable.”

On winning the Stella Prize, Clare Wright says:

“No one writes books to win prizes, but holy flip it feels astonishingly good to have won the Stella. Of all the prizes on offer, I reckon this one is the sweetest of all. The Stella Prize is like the Brownlow Medal of the literary world: all muscle and spine, with a touch of glamour. Without fail, the books on the 2014 Stella short and long lists demonstrate astonishing grunt, tenacity, courage, grace, vision, skill and sheer determination to reveal the world at its potential fairest. The Stella helps to keep the playing field at its level best. I am honoured to be in the company of these brilliant authors. Read More…