Written for children, this story is set in Albany in 1914. Using a diary style, it is based on an incident in the life of Fay Catherine Howe, the Breaksea Island Lighthouse Keeper's daughter.
Fay lives alone with her father on bleak, windswept Breaksea Island, at the entrance to King George Sound near Albany in Western Australia. Her isolated life takes a dramatic turn with the outbreak of World War I.
Fay collects the messages of lonely soldiers heading to the front-line in the Middle-East. She is their last hope of getting messages telegraphed back home. After their departure for the battlefields of Egypt and Gallipoli, she follows their fortunes and continues her long distance conversations with letters and postcards. Then one day, a single, sad telegram arrives, and the war is brought brutally home.
Drawing on archival material, newspaper articles & sketches, and interweaving fact with fiction, Dianne Wolfer deftly recreates this period in Australian history from the perspective of a young girl.
The story is further complemented by a series of fabulous, evocative charcoal illustrations by Brian Simmonds.
Breaksea light & keepers cottage by Brian Simmonds
Breaksea lighthouse 410km south-east of Perth, was built in 1858. Its elevation is 117m, and the tower another 14m. The original prefabricated cast-iron tower, located entrance to King George Sound, was imported from England, and erected by convicts. The octagonal granite living quarters surrounded the tower, are now in ruins. The new tower built in 1901, at elevation 119m, the tower is 16m, and was made of local granite. In 1926 it was automated and demanned, and is now solar-powered. The two keeper’s cottages have deteriorated significantly.