Contemporary and historical photographs have been combined with a knowledgeable text to provide a delightful insight into lesser-known aspects of Australia’s past in this wonderful book.
Peter Spearritt is a historian with a special interest in trains, so as well as exploring little towns like Burra in South Australia and Cooktown in Queensland, he writes of Melbourne’s trams, of an incident at Warwick Railway Station in Queensland where Billy Hughes was ‘egged’. Such was Hughes’ outrage, the incident led to the formation of the Australian Federal Police.
The book takes us to each state and territory, to our cities, outback and islands. There are photos of the Sydney Opera House and its controversial building and spectacular photos of Carnarvon Gorge, which are in stark contrast to the glories of the Great Barrier Reef.
Spearritt takes time to look at some incidents and the places where they took place. The historic photos of the Cowra Breakout contrast with the beautiful Japanese Gardens there today. The starkness of the Myall Creek Massacre is presented in contemporary drawings and modern photography.
In a book such as this, it is always interesting to look at what you know and Spearritt presents an accurate account and some interesting photos of Broken Hill, where I lived for two years and of Stanley in Tasmania, where my family lived for many years.
The book is a highly personal choice, so readers may be disappointed that their favourite historical spot is not included.
This is an attractive book which has appeal for overseas readers and Australians alike. I hope my brother enjoys it at Christmas time.
Where History Happened, by Peter Spearritt is available from The National Library of Australia and all good bookstores.