25 September 2023

Where History Happened

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Peter Spearritt, NLA Publishing, $39.99.

Mention Byron Bay, and invariably our thoughts will turn to holiday and beachside images when it comes to this coastal town in southeastern NSW.

It’s a popular holiday destination, known for its beaches, surfing and scuba diving sites. Cape Byron State Conservation Park is on a headland with a lighthouse. Between June and November, humpback whales can be spotted from headland viewpoints such as the Captain Cook Lookout

Didn’t know that Byron Bay was once a rough industrial town, thronging with the sounds and smells of mineral sand mining, a piggery and a thriving whaling station.

Join Spearritt as he reveals some fascinating facts hidden in the past of some of Australia’s most intriguing towns and places, from mining settlements and remote caves to monuments and historic houses in our capital cities.

Delving into the hidden past will usually uncover an interesting story behind the origins of many of Australia’s best-loved locations.

This well-illustrated book contains stories of famous pioneers, warriors, troublemakers, writers, leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as lesser-known Australians who carved out interesting lives in remote places.

Uncovering some captivating insights Spearritt identifies the most interesting details, monuments and buildings that you can visit today, revealing the hidden history scattered around our country.

The book also contains beautiful images from the collection of the National Library of Australia, including works by renowned photographers Frank Hurley, Wolfgang Sievers and Peter Dombrovskis, colonial watercolours and sketches, newspaper cartoons, early black-and-white photographs and bold, colourful tourism posters from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

A mix of social, architectural, military, political and industrial history, Where History Happened captivates the imagination.

It is lavishly illustrated with colourful tourism posters, drawings and paintings and photographs of buildings, interiors, sweeping landscapes and key historical events.

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