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On Thursday 9 March I left my Sydney home as the sun rose and headed north to Newcastle Library to talk about my book Fractured Families: Life on the Margins in Colonial NSW as part of the State Library’s Going Places: Authors on Tour series promoting winners of the NSW Premier’s Literary and History Awards. I was also booked to speak at the gorgeous Singleton library later that day on my mini non-fiction tour of the Hunter region organised by the Library’s Awards team.
I relished the opportunity to meet some fabulous librarians, family and local historians, life-long learners and keen readers of non-fiction. These are exactly the sorts of people I had such fun collaborating with when writing Fractured Families. In Newcastle I was re-acquainted with Glynda Nolan (who I had last seen at the State Library several years ago when undertaking my research on The Benevolent Society’s archives). Glynda helped me bring to life the story of her Irish ancestor Bridget Flahavan who moved first to Chippendale where she became an unwed mother but later settled happily in Newcastle with her husband David Lewis in the 1860s.
I also enjoyed the opportunity to promote my latest book Swimming with the Spit 100 Years of the Spit Amateur Swimming Club as part of a plea for all of us to better value local libraries and local history. This was a perfect way to celebrate community and regional history. I look forward to working on more local and community histories with teams of my students, local and family historians in the future. My Premier’s History award was a testament to the value of group work. I look forward to co-creating history with diverse communities throughout NSW in the future.
Tanya Evans was the winner of the 2016 NSW Community and Regional History Prize of the NSW Premier’s History Awards for her book Fractured Families: Life on the Margins in Colonial NSW.
Tanya is President of the History Council of NSW, Director of the Centre for Applied History at Macquarie University and is a Library Council of NSW Honorary Fellow.
Entries for the 2017 NSW Premier’s History Awards are now open.
Find out more about the State Library’s Fellowships .