Inspired by history

Michelle Morgan - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

In January 2013, I wandered into the quaint Gerringong Historical Society Museum on the South Coast of New South Wales to see their special exhibition. It was 8o years since Sir Charles Kingsford Smith (aka Smithy) landed Southern Cross on nearby Seven Mile Beach at Gerroa, before taking off again early the following morning, 11 January 1933, on the first commercial flight to New Zealand.

I'd been toying with the idea of somehow including this amazing historical event into the new novel I was writing. As I wandered around the exhibition, inspecting each old photo and artefact, reading every newspaper and magazine, I became more and more excited. A couple of hours later, I walked out of the museum and headed straight to Seven Mile Beach.

After parking my car on the side of the road, I headed along one of the sandy tracks to the beach. I walked slowly, taking in every sight, sound, smell, taste and texture in the surrounding bush. I ran over the sand dunes to the beach, just as I'd imagined my main character would. I was channelling the teenage boy deep inside who I could picture there on the beach when Southern Cross landed and took off  in 1933.

That historic event was the hook I needed to develop an important part of my main character's story. Over the following months, I finished the first draft of Flying through Clouds. It has taken me nearly four years to edit and reshape that raw manuscript into a novel that will be published in April 2017. I went back to the museum recently to thank them and to once again be mesmerised by their modest and unpretentious exhibition.

I am sincerely grateful to the Gerringong Historical Society Museum for bringing to life what I had read about in books and online resources. But I am most indebted to pioneering aviators like Sir Charles Kingsford Smith who flew such basic planes with canvas bodies and timber wings across oceans and continents. If it wasn't for their courage, tenacity and adventurous spirit, the airline industry wouldn't have developed at the rate it did. Many of the early aviators lost their lives, including Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, who disappeared in his plane, Lady Southern Cross, off the coast of Burma in 1935.

» Share this post

Recent Posts


highlife magazine bookstop[ Taree Library MacLean's Booksellers di bates kindle ReadPlus Gordon Library author talks sally odgers children's book council of australia WritingNSW too late for love bradman museum nowra library sydney eBook Historical Novel Society writers' festivals alexander mccall smith bill condon refugee week jump for jordan readhowyouwant captain tobias furneaux Muswellbrook Library school visits indigenous literacy foundation festival of dangerous ideas autumn revel State Library of NSW book fairs Bookshop Bowral ann harth playwriting skylight books gorman arts centre books narrabundah college decimal currency seven mile beach coming-of-age fiction clancy tucker book cover design deep sky goodreads tasmania lovereading4kids scbwi goodbye frankie flying through clouds australian reading hour children's book council of australia NSW branch reviews jackie french kobo lyn linning southern highlands writers' festival australian federation of graduate women luke johnson potts point bookshop book depository good reading magazine festival of golden words awards believing historical fiction Woollahra Library telopea park school valentine's day deb robins michelle morgan holidays literary events teachers' notes goodreads giveaway national simultaneous storytime hans christian andersen Abbey's Bookshop buzz words blog tour Mitchell Library Tamworth Country Music Festival book tour illustrators nsw writers' centre Grafton Library Australia Day elaine ousten mabo day society of children's book writers and illustrators shoalhaven libraries songs paperback sandy fussell heart of australia Good Reading smsa library ulladulla library bookloons eBook mall all the buzz about books griffin press read3r'zrevu hnsa romy sharp martin luther king, jr Moss Vale Campus Library international children's book day 2014 nook sharon mcguinness Broadbeach Library copyediting book trailer frankfurt book fair fran knight jamberoo public school author videos Sydney Harbour Bridge barbara braxton Quirindi Library elizabeth gilbert kids' book review writing workshops berkelouw books QBD spark award older readers 2017 byron writers festival CBCA Children's Book Week teen fiction australian literature theatre bushwalking Tamworth City Library Waterstones giveaway St Paul's Primary School 19 March 1932 griffin theatre literary lunch refugees tom keneally centre ubud, bali sydney opera house Newcastle writers' festival sydney mechanics school of arts library indigenous literacy day book launch middle grade fiction Anniversary Day sophie masson ANZAC Day Magpies better read than dead spark award 2017 amazon kindle allen & unwin australian standing orders atyp historical novel society australasia combined book exhibit fishpond children's / YA literature barnes&noble Reader's Companion Armidale gerringong historical society museum ubud writers & readers festival authors canberra interviews self-publishing arielle gamble bologna children's book fair bookshops bay of fires YA fiction 14 february 1966 Port Macquarie Library 12 curly questions iTunes smashwords CBCA book of the year awards ainslie + gorman arts centre Dymock's Canberra mETAphor libraries amazon southern cross southern highland news tanika gupta Reading Time Books + Publishing sir charles kingsford smith playwrights retreat Dymocks Brisbane lachlan philpott dymocks Lismore Library indie publishing reconciliation bookworld festivals scbwi australia NAIDOC week children's book council of australia national conference racing the moon booktopia mother's day children's book council of australia illawarra south coast just write for kids kate gordon writing process blog hop Bowral Art Gallery Spotlight On Paperchain Manuka playwriting festival big book day out act writers centre chloe mauger berkelouw book barn