‘Our Little Town’ outlines the life, spirit and character of a Victorian fishing village through the voices of one family across five generations. Elsie Johnstone has captured the views, thoughts and memories of 28 members of a Lakes Entrance clan that traces its origins back to William Carstairs, one of the town’s original founders and a legendary professional fisherman.
Rather than a dry history, it is a colourful, living re-creation of what it was like to grow up in a town of only a few hundred people, 320 kilometres from the state capital and dependent so much on the sea for its viability. Each voice, in its own individual way, tells of experiences and feelings as a tiny community expands. Secrets are revealed, long-held criticisms unearthed, insights given into why relationships succeeded or failed. Significant events are described, often providing vastly differing views from witnesses. Weddings, funerals, wars, the circus coming to town, football, surfing, tourism, negotiating the treacherous waters of the Entrance, the skills, strength and vitality of the women keeping the families going while the men went off to work out to sea or at the Salmon Company; all this and more is outlined in an accessible, enjoyable read.
The storytellers range from Jack Allen, then 86, to Megan Allen who was 14 when she wrote her story. In between there are daughters and sons, aunts and uncles, cousins and grandchildren – all descendants of Robert and Annie (Carstairs) Allen – offering their views in their own individual style.
Across 80 years, from the arrival of electricity to the establishment of the first internet café, ‘Our Little Town’ carries the memoirs of ordinary people going about their ordinary lives. That is its charm.
You can purchase the book online from Smashwords and/or Amazon at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/494867.
eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow at goodlifeguide.com