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History Book

Drawn To Mt Magnet - History Book

*By Karen Morrissey and Lorna Day

The decision to update an historical booklet turned into a 10 year odyssey of research and learning for two Mount Magnet women. Karen Morrissey and Lorna Day have just finished a decade of studying Mount Magnet's past. The title of which is “Drawn to Mount Magnet” - a comprehensive book about the town, the district and its people. The duo initially volunteered to help update a historical booklet about the mining town, originally written by a local priest in 1979.

But after a year of updating they knew they had started something big."After 12 months, Lorna and I realised we weren't updating the booklet anymore, we were writing a book," Mrs Morrissey said. "So we just kept going until we'd finished." This included making many trips to Geraldton and Perth to access records about the district. Some record files were accessible in Mount Magnet but a great deal had been lost to fire."Because of the damage, a lot of the history recorded had to come from families which had lived in the area for a long time,” Mrs Morrissey said.

This had benefits both for the women and the district. The two were able to glean the history of the district for their book through the interviews, at the same time preserving history and recollections of the past which may well have gone to the grave with the people if not for their work. According to the women the book has also served to place Mount Magnet in the context of WA's history, "A lot of the early families here were connected to families on the Swan River settlement," Mrs Morrissey said. So it seemed appropriate to go back to the Swan River settlement and show how they got here. But it's not just a book about the distant past. It's also a very modern record of what has happened here."

The book also features an extensive range of colour photographs of the district and examines the early links between the region's pastoralists and prospectors. "When the pastoralists came in the 1880s. they created places for prospectors to stay; often prospectors stayed at the homesteads," Mrs Morrissey said. The two women were named 1997’s Mount Magnet's Citizens of the Year for their work.

The new updated edition of  "Drawn to Mt Magnet" is available from the Shire of Mount Magnet office (08) 99633000 and Mount Magnet Visitor Centre/Mining and Pastoral Museum  (southern entrance to town) (08) 9963 4172.   Please call the Visitor Centre for pricing.


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