The Southern Midlands
My fourth history of a municipal area – and this one has a wonderful history, in the centre of the island, with plenty of action from bushrangers, Aborigines, convicts, grasping landowners, a dishonest town clerk, publicans, graziers, sportsmen and women …
More terrific people to interview. Tem Fish, famous for Fish’s fruit cakes, told me how a few rotten eggs improved a cake, adding to the flavour. He could break thirty eggs a minute into a cake mix. Clare McShane of Casaveen told me about founding her industry in her kitchen at home, making jumpers for neighbours. I heard stories of ghosts, of Tasmanian tigers, of heroes and villains. Recently, the Southern Midlands is renowned for its marvellous heritage work under Brad Williams. The Oatlands District Historical Society were superb, and their collection of photos wonderful.
I enjoyed worked with the Council, particularly the assistant general manager, Andrew Benson, and the mayor, Tony Bisdee. What a great time we had planning the book! They brought in a designer, Julie Hawkins, and she and I had a very productive time working together. The book Julie designed is superb, and it quickly sold out.
The place I didn’t realise was in the Southern Midlands until almost too late was Runnymede. Thank goodness for Trove! It came up with several good stories.