A TA­PES­TRY OF BRUNY IS­LAND

By Karen Darby ( Gin­nin­derra Press, $ 25)

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - BOOKS - CLYDE SELBY

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.

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