Small Projects and a Book Review.

I was recently introduced to a woman of around my vintage at an author talk at the local Library. Turns out that she is a writer and during the worst of Covid was asked to commit to a “small project”.

Shirley Chambers’ “small project” was indeed a misnomer as it involved the chronicling of the rich literary history of Toowoomba and the Darling Downs, which are located to the west of the Great Dividing Range in Queensland.

Toowoomba, known as the capital city of the Darling Downs, has its colonial beginnings dating back to 1816. Much of its history has been preserved in its buildings and heritage-listed sites with the region also being renowned for its farmland and grazing. Shirley Chambers, who was born on a farm at Rocky Point on the Downs, has authored “Words From The Past”examining those who formed part of the literary landscape and how their time in the area may have inspired their life experiences.

Arthur Hoey Davis, born in 1868, is perhaps one of the better known authors from that region. Writing under the pseudonym of Steele Rudd (1868-1935) Davis wrote sketches of life which were based on his father’s experience as a selector, someone managing a free selection of land before it was surveyed. These sketches were combined and published as “On Our Selection“. The Rudd Park at Nobby stands as a reminder of his contribution.

Other writers were educators, some were country folk simply expressing their experiences in the bush, some became influences in the literary field, and Mary Hannay Foote, (1846-1918), was an absolute trailblazer becoming Queensland’s first professional female journalist. Several writers had their written work evolve into movies for the big screen, whilst the works of contemporary award winning children’s book illustrator-author, Narelle Oliver, (1960-2016), remain firm family favourites around the nation to this day.

Words From The Past” spotlights nearly thirty wordsmiths with a connection to the Darling Downs. Some were born in the area, others built their lives around the Downs, and a few were simply travelling through. It is an interesting and easy read which would appeal to those who love reading and Australian history, and at $10 a book ( postage additional) is going to make a delightful Christmas stocking filler!

Note to Sharon at, :I believe Shirley has banners featuring these writers at The Lighthouse…..

10 thoughts on “Small Projects and a Book Review.

  1. Shirley’s work is so well researched; the graphics are engaging and lift it well beyond a dry historical tome. The posters referred to have moved from The Lighthouse to be mobile enough to travel to the regional communities and author talks with Shirley. Copies of Words From the Past are dwindling, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon

    They certainly were on display, I am sure we will see them again, perhaps at next years Word fest. I think Toowoomba is having a bit of a literary renaissance these days and it is wonderful to see these authors remembered and celebrated by emerging local authors,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree Sharon. I hope to make your next Wordfest. It is important to support these festivals to ensure that they continue, and so that both existing and emerging authors receive some recognition.

      Funnily enough, I’m interstate and have just met up with a lass who has provided me with more titles for the Gaia Reading Challenge. Yep, sitting in a pub with a vino talking your Reading Challenge. Little ripples, my friend, little ripples….


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