Albany story short listed for NSW Award

Lighthouse Girl by author Dianne Wolfer and illustrator Brian Simmonds has been short listed for a New South Wales Premier’s History Award worth $15,000. It was one of four books to make the short list for the Young People’s History Prize.

Lighthouse Girl was chosen from some 182 nominations covering topics that ranged from WW1 veterans to the story of Australian surfing. She said she was honoured to be short listed for such a prestigious award.

“As a regional writer it’s exciting that my work is recognised beyond Western Australia where I am reasonably well known.

“We can learn so much from history and stories provide a vehicle to share our past with children,” said Wolfer.

Lighthouse Girl is the true story of Fay Catherine Howe, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter, who was the last Australian point of contact for many soldiers on their way to the battlefields of WW1. Howe used semaphore flags to communicate with the departing AIF troops off the coast of Albany, Western Australia.

“The image of Fay Catherine Howe signalling to the departing AIF troops from the old Breaksea Island Lighthouse was so evocative.

“I felt a strong sense of connection and wanted to explore this story further,” said Wolfer.

Wolfer is short listed for the Young People’s History Prize alongside Allan Baillie, Krakatoa Lighthouse, Anthony Hill, Captain Cook’s Apprentice and Carole Wilkinson, The Night We Made the Flag.

The winners of the 13th NSW History Awards will be announced at a presentation dinner on Tuesday, 27 October.

Past winners have included K.S. Inglis, Patricia Jalland, Inga Clendinnen, Bruce Scates and Raelene Frances, Trevor Graham, Christopher Clark, Nadia Wheatley, and Grace Karskens.

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