Remembering Charmian: Nadia Wheatley and Panel

Saturday 6 July, 2.30pm in Kiama Library

The Friends of Kiama Library and the Kiama and District Historical Society (KDHS) join to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the death of a true Kiama legend, author Charmian Clift, when we meet in the Library from 2.30pm on Saturday 6 July.

The key-note address for this special event will be presented by Charmian’s biographer Nadia Wheatley, followed by discussion led by an eminent panel of local commentators Richard Walsh, Graham Tucker and Bonie Maywald

Members will all. to an extent. be aware of the life of Charmian Clift – born in Kiama in August 1923; “Pix” Beach Girl Winner in 1941; “escaped” to Sydney; met and married fellow journalist and author George Johnston after the war, with whom she co-authored ‘High Valley’ to win the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) £2,000 prize for 1948; left with Johnston for London and subsequently the Greek islands of Kaliminos and Hydra; returned to Sydney in 1964; a period as celebrated columnist with the SMH; death from overdose of sleeping tablets on 8 July 1969.

Nadia Wheatley is a prolific and successful Australian writer whose work includes novels, biography and history, and also children’s books. Her biography The Life and Myth of Charmian Clift, was described by one critic as “one of the greatest Australian biographies” and won the year’s NSW Premier’s Award for Australian History. Our panel members will add their own insights from their deep interest in aspects of Charmian’s life. Richard Walsh, who will be very well known from his days as publisher and media figure, is likely to reflect on Charmian’s writing after her return from Greece; Graham Tucker with background of post-graduate study on Charmian’s life, particularly her associations with Kiama; and Bonie Maywald as a “soon to be” resident moving from Queanbeyan and a deeply interested contributor.

The day’s program will commence at 2.30pm with Nadia Wheatley’s talk, with a break for tea and biscuits, followed by a session of perhaps 40 minutes discussion headed by the panel.

Entry will be $10 a head, with tickets to be available on the Kiama Library website through a link to TryBooking, or go to the Library and staff will make a booking for you. Full details will be sent to members in plenty of time

Members may also be interested in a “Remembering Charmian” self guided walking tour pointing to places in Kiama which have particular significance in Charmian’s life. This is an app developed by Kiama Library and KDHS and will be available on the Library website for you to download to your phone. The app will be launched at the event

The KDHS museum in the Pilot’s Cottage on Blowhole Point has an excellent display recording her life and work. Entry will be free over the weekend, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 6 -8 July.

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