New book solves the puz­zle of Ul­marra

The Daily Examiner - - NEWS -

A PROJECT that was born more than 40 years ago by life­long Ul­marra res­i­dent Ken Watkins has led to the his­toric port town’s for­ma­tive years be­ing col­lated by his son, Kevin.

And it was con­nect­ing the pieces of the jig­saw puz­zle that at­tracted Kevin Watkins to re­search­ing the his­tory of the town.

Kevin will launch his new book Ul­marra – The First Forty Years at the Cold­stream Gallery on Sun­day, and Mr Watkins used a com­bi­na­tion of his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ences to col­late the in­for­ma­tion.

“My dad started col­lect­ing old pho­tos of Ul­marra, and over the years he amassed a lot of good stuff,” Kevin said.

“I started to help him digi­tise the pho­tos, and on top I started to process all of the in­for­ma­tion he col­lected into text, and in do­ing so I got caught on the bug my­self.”

After he re­tired from teach­ing in 2009, and his fa­ther died in 2011, Kevin started to ref­er­ence old is­sues of The Daily Ex­am­iner to help solve the puz­zles of the town.

“No one knew any­thing about the early busi­nesses, or even the fact that there were three dif­fer­ent Ul­mar­ras and it was get­ting all the in­for­ma­tion that we worked out how it all came to­gether,” he said.

The book con­sists of snip­pets of sto­ries from dates through­out the years 1860-1900, and Mr Watkins said that the on­line Trove of copies of The Daily Ex­am­iner be­came in­valu­able.

“I like to use the Ex­am­iner be­cause as far as I'm con­cerned that’s the truth, whereas you get in­for­ma­tion com­ing from other sources, anec­do­tal or me­mories, are not as ac­cu­rate."

The book will be launched at the Cold­stream Gallery on Sun­day at 2pm.

It will be avail­able from the gallery, the Ul­marra Ho­tel and other busi­nesses in the town.

Photo: Adam Houri­gan

DECADES IN THE MAK­ING: Kevin Watkins with his book, Ul­marra the first 40 years, which will be launched on Sun­day.

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