A TAPESTRY OF BRUNY ISLAND
By Karen Darby ( Ginninderra Press, $ 25)
STORIES collected and edited into one slim book and embracing more than 70 years of her family’s residence on Bruny Island has been the work of Karen Darby.
Like the famous Bayeux, it is not technically a tapestry but an embroidered picture of separate generational accounts.
The most articulate representative of the successive generations is the compiler’s English grandmother, Katie Jennings, who lived on South Bruny Island between 1949 and the mid- 60s. Her enthusiastic accounts are told through diaries as well as extracts from the National Women’s Session radio program on ABC Hobart.
These 10- minute long talks were also broadcast to the mainland which literally put Bruny Island on the map.
Grandmother Jennings’ words about her post- war younger days and the hiking and swimming holidays with friends will cause more than a twinge of nostalgia for wholesome, campsite fun.
Nostalgia too will be evoked by the verbal pictures of kindly country folk and the numerous raspberry farms and orchards.
Descriptions of bygone industries are found in the different accounts. Indeed another emotion will possibly be felt with the fact that at Simpson’s Bay, adjacent to “the neck”, there was once Australia’s largest cherry farm.
The words of Roger Jennings, who was the author’s father and destined to become the Solicitor- General of Tasmania, provide a masculine perspective of fishing, sport and activities in and around the Alonnah Hotel.
A feature of the little book is the range of photographs of people, houses or jetties that will be a record of the life on Bruny Island in the 20th century.