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Ku-ring-gai Mayor advocates for Australian literature during visit to historic ‘Woodlands’ house

Albert Lim (right) owner of ‘Woodlands’ house with MP Paul Fletcher (centre-left), Ku-ring-gai Mayor Jeff Pettett (centre-right) and Deputy Mayor Barbara Ward (left)Photo: Twitter.

By SAM PASHMI

Ku-ring-gai Mayor Jeff Pettett recently said that more recognition needs to be given to Australian literature during a visit to the historic home of Australian author Ethel Turner. Mayor Pettett visited the heritage site with several other parliament members after the home of ‘Seven Little Australians’ author opened for public viewing during the Ku-ring-gai Heritage Festival earlier in the year.

“I think we gotta be more confident as Australians to say, look at our authors that we have now and in the past, and actually use them, to study and be proud of Australia’s literature” Mayor Pettett said.

He added that Australian authors should be at the “forefront” of education, “rather than going back to the old classics of Shakespeare”.

“As Australians we tend not to see ourselves as wonderful authors.”

Turner’s works were historically part of the Australian school syllabus, but were removed from schools soon after the end of WW2.

To renew interest in Australian history and literature, Mayor Pettett suggests holding large exhibitions and showcasing heritage sites to attract public attention, saying that “we have a lot of hidden treasures, I hope they don’t remain hidden”.

Current owner responsible for restoration of Ethel Turner’s home

The revival of the historic Killara home, named ‘Woodlands’, can be attributed to the current owner of the property, Albert Lim. Lim discovered the historical significance of the house and its previous owner, and invested resources into restoration.

Inside the house where classic Australian novel ‘Seven Little Australians’ was authored by Ethel Turner. Photo: Facebook

Lim said the restoration efforts are “not only to preserve [Turner’s] memory but to inspire future generations to follow in her footsteps”.

Mayor Pettet said that maintaining heritage sites is beneficial for the preservation of Australian history as well as promoting the works of Australian authors.

“We really gotta fight for what we’ve built, learn from the past, look after it, and plan for the future in sympathy with what we have, and restore these wonderful old landmarks- because once they’re gone, they’re gone.”

When Turner’s house first opened to the public, over 800 people viewed the revered author’s home within a span of 2 days.

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