A travel guide for story addicts


It’s raining over Tathra. The Professor and I are sitting on the deck of the Tathra pub, gazing out at the hazy grey seascape.

We came here, in part, because we’d read about this pub. It’s mentioned in The Oxford Literary Guide to Australia as being the setting for one of Arthur Upfield’s detective novels, The Mystery of Swordfish Reef (1960). Bermagui also features in the story so I’m determined to find a copy of it before we get too much further up the coast. (Bermagui also has a caravan park named after the American author Zane Grey).

When I was trying to decide which reference books to take on the road with us, I knew that Peter Pierce’s (ed) guidebook definitely had to find its place inside Gloria. The information inside it would be incredibly difficult to run to ground on the internet. It hasn’t been revised since 1993, which is a shame, but there’s still plenty of fascinating references, quotes and literary asides to make it a delicious read when you’re on the road. Henry Lawson, of course, has been everywhere – at least in NSW. Some of the writers I’ve never heard of but am now curious to find their work. Since we’ve left home, we’ve flicked it open more times than I can count. It’s my kind of travel guide.

We’ve hung around the Sapphire Coast a little longer than we’d expected, partly because we left home sooner than planned but also because its beaches are exquisite. Since we left the clifftop caravan park earlier in the week, we’ve been camping in Bournda National Park. The Professor has a show tomorrow at Twyford Hall in Merimbula and then we’ll head a little further north to Narooma. Hopefully before we get much further, I’ll have run to ground a copy of The Mystery of Swordfish Reef.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Books are windows into other ways of being.”

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