News Archive


Gwalia book launch - Join us 17 October 2015 2pm at Hoover House.

The book is called “Gwalia”, a collaboration between Arlene Puddy/Beatty (writer) and Kenneth J. Irwin (illustrator), seeks to invite the reader on a journey through Gwalia.

Mellowing under the protective curve of Mt. Leonora some 234 klms north east of Kalgoorlie is Gwalia; now a ghost town. Gone are the busy days of a vibrant community with noisy life and the Sons of Gwalia goldmine.

Once again people are coming to visit this magical time capsule; to experience the isolation; experience the arid countryside and imagine what life would have been like in its heyday.  

 A collaboration between Arlene Puddy/Beatty (writer) and Kenneth J. Irwin (illustrator) resulted in a book simply called “Gwalia”. This book seeks to invite the reader on a day's journey through time; through Gwalia with its cottages and their stories. Sketches of life as it was and the need to keep it as it is.  From the stunning colours of the dawn to the beauty of the sunset; a journey with illustrations of the old buildings and stories and poems, reliving the vibrancy that Gwalia once had and is now being saved and restored; studied and appreciated before it is all gone or too late to save.

Kenneth said, “I remember well the day having stepped out of the train carriage onto the Gwalia Railway Station platform. My connection with Gwalia started that very day.  It was 1960, and it didn’t for a second enter into my head that I should have taken more notice; photographed all there was to see and put it aside for now; 2015. How much more in-depth would my story be; how much more would I have had to offer.”

As a small child on a farm in Wattle Grove, Arlene was regaled with stories of Gwalia where both her parents had lived. It was 1898 when her Great Grandmother Mrs. Jackson (later Nevin) ran a boarding house for single miners in South Gwalia. In 1904 Bessie her daughter married Bill Beatty and in 1905 Arlene’s mother Gladys Beatty was born.

Arlene said, “My mother talked about Gwalia to me constantly and so I became so absorbed by its story it became part of my life too. In adult life I began many years of research, obsessive interest, writing about Gwalia and its life.”

Kenneth was inspired upon hearing Arlene on Radio talk about Gwalia and immediately wanting to make contact to discuss Gwalia in more detail. “After finding out about Arlene’s Family history in Gwalia and her unsurpassed passion for its survival; mixed with my ability to architecturally illustrate such places, we decided to compile a book. It has taken some time to accumulate enough detail and information; travel to Gwalia and photograph extensively all that there was in this isolated but incredibly beautiful example of life as it was, thus eventually producing a book that we are both very proud of,’ said  Kenneth J. Irwin.

Shire of Leonora President, Cr Peter Craig said, ‘The Shire is delighted to be hosting the launch of Arlene and Kenneth’s book at Hoover House. The book will be for sale at the Leonora Information Centre and Gwalia Museum”.

Please join us at the book launch on Saturday 17th October 2015 at 2pm at Hoover House. For further details please contact Arlene on arlene1@iinet.net.au  

« Return to news page