Blog

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

Tags

sir charles kingsford smith captain tobias furneaux just write for kids canberra believing giveaway nsw writers' centre griffin press potts point bookshop writing workshops flying through clouds amazon paperback Dymocks Brisbane big book day out bradman museum 14 february 1966 refugees australian literature gorman arts centre 12 curly questions ubud writers & readers festival coming-of-age fiction book cover design berkelouw books reviews children's book council of australia illawarra south coast bushwalking book depository Abbey's Bookshop bookloons society of children's book writers and illustrators byron writers festival goodreads shoalhaven libraries better read than dead di bates songs bologna children's book fair writers' festivals author talks Muswellbrook Library hans christian andersen sydney opera house libraries ReadPlus smsa library Good Reading too late for love Taree Library combined book exhibit autumn revel bookshops sophie masson spark award 2017 awards festivals sydney writers festival 2019 australian federation of graduate women refugee week goodbye frankie southern cross eBook teen fiction ulladulla library seven mile beach iTunes historical fiction decimal currency tasmania Australia Day writing process blog hop allen & unwin festival of dangerous ideas literary events tom keneally centre children's book council of australia Anniversary Day ubud, bali State Library of NSW arielle gamble valentine's day CBCA book of the year awards MacLean's Booksellers fran knight readhowyouwant clancy tucker heart of australia jamberoo public school alexander mccall smith ann harth Newcastle writers' festival playwriting festival luke johnson mother's day school visits CBCA Children's Book Week Port Macquarie Library kobo indigenous literacy foundation good reading magazine sally odgers southern highlands writers' festival Spotlight On racing the moon St Paul's Primary School Mitchell Library skylight books playwriting telopea park school books reconciliation YA fiction copyediting bookstop[ Tamworth City Library blog tour Dymock's Canberra sharon mcguinness international children's book day 2014 interviews 19 March 1932 barnes&noble Woollahra Library martin luther king, jr Lismore Library buzz words nowra library australian reading hour Quirindi Library playwrights retreat Reader's Companion Armidale authors spark award older readers 2017 mabo day southern highland news sandy fussell sydney mechanics school of arts library self-publishing children's book council of australia national conference Paperchain Manuka Reading Time lyn linning holidays michelle morgan hnsa lovereading4kids WritingNSW fishpond griffin theatre middle grade fiction children's / YA literature narrabundah college historical novel society australasia kate gordon scbwi australia indie publishing Gordon Library deb robins Bowral Art Gallery barbara braxton goodreads giveaway berkelouw book barn romy sharp dymocks gerringong historical society museum ainslie + gorman arts centre teachers' notes festival of golden words elaine ousten jump for jordan Grafton Library NAIDOC week Waterstones children's book council of australia NSW branch book tour amazon kindle QBD frankfurt book fair theatre scbwi lachlan philpott ANZAC Day Books + Publishing kindle Broadbeach Library read3r'zrevu indigenous literacy day deep sky jackie french atyp act writers centre highlife magazine author videos literary lunch sydney Sydney Harbour Bridge australian standing orders national simultaneous storytime Historical Novel Society bookworld bill condon book launch chloe mauger Magpies eBook mall book trailer elizabeth gilbert illustrators mETAphor Bookshop Bowral tanika gupta smashwords book fairs nook booktopia Tamworth Country Music Festival kids' book review eBooks.com all the buzz about books bay of fires Moss Vale Campus Library

Archive