1 March 2021 Susannah

My first literary tour within Australia

Gunnedah Maize Mill

I have just completed my first literary tour within Australia! The tour company I work with is called ASA which stands for Australians Studying Abroad. Just at the moment, I think it needs a new temporary name of ‘Australians Studying Australia’ for we all learned a lot about our country and its writers and artists.

The tour went to New England and the Hunter Valley, and particular highlights for me were visits which a traveller on their own could never have experienced. We had fabulous talks by three authors – Richard Anderson, a farmer, who writes crime novels that reflect the challenges faced by those on the land; Sophie Masson, who writes mainly for children and whose exotic background has enabled her to write an amazing range of books; and Barry Maitland, whose wonderful series of crime novels set in London and featuring detectives David Brock and Kathy Kolla, has now been added to with a trilogy of crime books set in Australia. It was also a great treat to visit the studio of artists James Drinkwater and his partner Lottie Consalvo – the studio was an amazing sight and it was fascinating to learn about their inspiration as artists. And the visit to the private library of some dear friends left me quite green with envy, but also thrilled that wonderful rare books are being treasured and cared for, and shared with tour groups. We stood in the room where poet Judith Wright was born and listened to her niece read the poems, we visited the Dorothea Mackellar Centre in Gunnedah, admired a great set of paintings telling the story of bushranger Captain Thunderbolt, learned about Federation (ironically in a time when the states of Australia are closing borders to each other) at the excellent Sir Henry Parkes Museum in Tenterfield, and so much more.

It was a treat and a privilege to lead my first Aussie tour.

I have others coming up during the year, and am really looking forward to meeting Chris Hammer and Sulari Gentill on the Snowy Mountains trip, as well as visiting some places connected with Henry Lawson. Later in the year, on my Queensland tour, there is Fraser Island to explore, in the steps of Patrick White and several artists, as well as the Maryborough of Mary Poppins’ creator, P.L. Travers, and much more. My co-leader David Henderson (who is an amazing artist as well as a brilliant ‘teacher’ of art appreciation) is also leading an enticing tour in Queensland. Goodness knows when borders might open for overseas travel, but at least we can get to know Australia rather better in the meantime. There are a few rooms still available on these tours and I’d love you to join me.

Do you have plans to travel in our own country this year? Is there a literary location in Australia that you’d like to see? Let me know by leaving a comment.

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Featured image credit- Silo mural of Dorothea Mackellar at Gunnedah Maize Mill, https://www.facebook.com/RegionalArtsNSWLtd/photos/
Body image credit- Dorothea Mackellar Centre in Gunnedah, photo by Susannah Fullerton
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Comments (4)

  1. Laura Cunningham

    I’ve travelled down the Darling River, camping as we went, this year. Blown away by the resilience of pioneers, and even more so by the current inhabitants. Dorothea’s ‘My Country’ is oft quoted on these trips….

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Very appropriate poem to quote on camping trips. It has been wonderful that we’ve all explored our own country more in the past year.

  2. Omega Pott

    Hey – I read Five Acre Virgin by E. Jolley a few years ago and really identified with her German background. Germans were so hated after and between the wars but you could allude to the culture in Poetry and Writing!
    I am coming out of my own German-ness…… a late father who taught at Melb Uni and an elderly artist mother – going back into Berlin Memories. V. Interested in a tour of Barossa or other places. Can interpret. Food for thought!!

    • Susannah Fullerton

      A Barossa tour is a lovely idea – think of the nice winees and vineyards that could be included.
      Thanks for the recommendation of the Jolley book. Yes, Germans had to face so much prejudice after both wars.

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