Researcher Jock Serong is a treasure trove of Far South Coast 18th Century history.
The Victorian-based multi-award winning writer will share some of his extensive research into the earliest encounters between the Yuin people and the settlers who began arriving in the late 18th Century, at the Headland Writers' Festival on Sunday October 30 at 3pm.
Many of his passions have come together in his historical fiction trilogy that concluded with Settlement, published in August.
A lawyer for 17 years, Mr Serong volunteered with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Services and worked behind the scenes on the Bring Them Home inquiry regarding the Stolen Generation. He later worked on native land claims.
He then wrote for Surfing World, not just writing about surf but about people, places, the environment and forgotten histories.
Mr Serong has been visiting the Furneaux Islands, north-east of Tasmania, for 25 to 30 years, drawn by the "very beautiful and undisturbed environment, the Aboriginal history and lots of fascinating angles".
Preservation, the first book in the trilogy, told the story of early settlers after their ship Sydney Cove was wrecked near the Furneaux Islands in 1797.
When their longboat sank they walked along the south coast almost to Sydney, encountering five or six Aboriginal language groups on the way.
Preservation is based very closely on history.
"A survivor kept a diary and the wreck was found and very well preserved so I was able to work off the artefacts from the boat," Mr Serong said.
"That gave me a very good understanding of the context for the book.
The second book was "less attached to history and more imagined", he said.
The third one, Settlement, is based on some very sensitive First Nation history.
Mr Serong said the survivors of the Sydney Cove wreckage walked through Tathra.
He is really interested in the history that didn't make it into the trilogy, including how the coastal Yuin people travelled the Bundian Way into the high country at the same time each year to collect Bogong moths.
"Scientific research has found that moth numbers are vastly diminished, likely through pesticides, but also perhaps light pollution pulling them off course," Mr Serong said.
"That is where Aboriginal history intersects with environmental concerns."
Ben Hissink, commanding officer of the HMAS Supply (II) which was commissioned in April 2021, named the ship's main passage the Bundian Way.
That was a departure from the tradition of naming it after the main street of its home port which would have had it named Imlay, for Eden's main street.
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