Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fremantle Writers - John Boyle O'Reilly

I spent a few hours yesterday morning wandering through central Fremantle, visiting the Maritime Museum - which includes a very good exhibit on the WA whaling industry - the markets, a secondhand bookshop and having coffee in the fresh air. It did rain a bit later.

Fremantle is a popular tourist destination and there are 11 self guided tourist trails in the city. One of these is the The Fremantle Writers Walk, a series of five art installations along High Street that celebrate past and present local writers. The art installations have been designed and fabricated by Fremantle artist Bridget Norton.

Each installation features one selected writer and incorporates a short passage of writing from their work. The artworks are in the form of 2.4m high markers or totems, with the writer’s name and selected text on the face of the totem. Glass light boxes within the totem also provide text and graphic images relevant to the selected writing.

The shape of the installations mean they fit easily into the streetscape but it also makes it easy to miss them. The extracts from the writings are small and not easy to read. Still a nice idea. What about something like this for Trim - surely we could come up with five famous writers.

So far the ‘walk’ incorporates only 5 writers and includes one Irishman, Meath-born John Boyle O'Reilly. He actually spent only a short period of time in Fremantle and Western Australia as a convict before he escaped in 1869 but he did write what is commonly regarded as the first Western Australian novel, Moondyne (1880) based on his experiences as a convict there.

The other writers honoured in the walk are: Tim WintonJoan London; Xavier Herbert and Kim Scott.

1 comment:

Paddy Smith said...

In 50 years' time, Michael, they'll have one of those installations with the name of Michael Farry, especially after your reading tomorrow in a fish shop. Sorry, pub. Good luck with the session!