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


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