Author delves into history of Romsey

LANCEFIELD historian and biographer Fay Woodhouse is hoping people will learn about the origin of buildings in Romsey and its earliest settlers from her new book Romsey: an Historical Guide.

Ms Woodhouse has written about Australian social and political history and regularly contributes her work to the Australian dictionary of Biography, and her local paper the Lancefield Mercury.

The author has published 15 books, with her first published in 1997, all covering varying topics including a history of wineries, a community yacht club, the history of Gita and Melbourne’s first yoga school.

“I’ve always loved reading and writing, and went to university as a mature age student to study literature and ended up with an Honours Degree and PhD in Australian history,” Ms Woodhouse said.

“My first book, my honours thesis, was published in 1997. It was a study of the Communist Party Dissolution Referendum 1951 for which I had won several prizes.

“In 2019 I became a volunteer at the Romsey and Lancefield Districts Historical Society.

“We saw a need for an expanded version of Brenda Soraghan’s popular 2013 publication Discover Romsey: An Historic Look at the Making of a Town. I volunteered to write it.”

Romsey: an Historical Guide identifies more than 50 buildings and landmarks in Romsey and documents the history of the families who created its many businesses.

The book is a documentation of Romsey’s 160 years, and an exploration of its rich history, a book Ms Woodhouse said was a ‘must-read for visitors and locals alike’.

“I began researching and writing this book in August last year. I researched and found information about the buildings and places in various heritage studies, business and family files held at the historical society and found information in existing published histories about Romsey,” she said.

“I took photographs of each of the buildings or places and found historic photographs of the same sites for comparison.

“After I had completed the researching and writing the editing process began. Members of the historical society’s committee read the book and commented on it, filling in some of the gaps with information or stories I had not found.

“I am hoping locals and visitors alike will learn about the origin of some of the buildings they see in the main streets and will also learn more about the pioneering families who started businesses in Romsey from the earliest days of settlement.

“Once the manuscript and photographs were finalised I then gave it to the local Lancefield graphic designer Craig Longmuir. Craig designs the Lancefield Mercury and had designed my previous two books.”

Ms Woodhouse said she had already started work on her next book, which would be a historical guide of Lancefield.

To purchase the book, people can contact Romsey Lancefield and Districts Historical Society secretary Shirley Kishere on 0402 248 540 or Fay Woodhouse on 0427 042 753.

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