Peter FitzSimons to shed light on work for History Illuminated

Published on 23 August 2019

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Acclaimed Australian author Peter FitzSimons will reveal the secrets behind his bestselling works to launch a packed program of events for this year’s Lake Mac Libraries History Illuminated.

FitzSimons, whose books have covered some of Australia’s most fascinating historical tales, will launch History Illuminated with a talk covering why he writes about history, his approach to selecting subjects and how he researches his work.

The Friday 30 August evening at Lake Mac Centre For Performing Arts kicks off a week of more than 30 separate events and activities across the City.

Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Arts, Culture and Events Jacqui Hemsley said the program ranged from talks and presentations to guided bus tours and cruises, getting up close and personal with the region’s history.

“What’s wonderful this year is not just the number of events but their diversity,” Ms Hemsley said.

“They reflect the rich history of our City, the region and all of Australia.”

Local historian Ed Tonks will explore the history of the Fernleigh Track at a presentation on Saturday 31 August before leading a bus tour of historical sites across eastern Lake Macquarie on Tuesday 3 September.

His talk at Belmont Library on Thursday 5 September will cover the vital role of horses in the Hunter’s coal mines through the 19th and 20th centuries.

“An understanding and awareness of the past helps to explain much of the relevance of the present,” the former high school teacher said.

Author and comedian Ben Pobjie turns his satirical writing to Australia’s bushrangers at a talk at Lake Mac Centre For Performing Arts on Saturday 31 August, “celebrating the passion and derring-do of our wild colonial boys and girls”.

On Tuesday 3 September, Greg and Sylvia Ray will present at Toronto Library a slideshow of some of their favourite historical photos depicting life in the Hunter Region.

Greg and Sylvia have published 10 books showcasing hundreds of photos they have spent years collecting and painstakingly restoring.

Also at Toronto Library, curator Donna Biles-Fernando will share stories on Wednesday 4 September from Indigenous community members, recorded by 1233 ABC Newcastle.

Entry to most History Illuminated events is by gold coin donation.

Others, including the bus tour and cruise, require payment to cover costs.

Tickets for the 30 August opening night with Peter FitzSimons are $40 and include canapes and wine, with the evening running 6.30-8.30pm.

History Illuminated is presented in partnership with Hunter Writers' Centre and supported by Dymocks, Charlestown.

Go to for bookings and further information.