Booklet a guide to Port Fairy's past

BELIEVE it or not there was life in Port Fairy before the folk festival.

Port Fairy writer and historian David Jones has released a book entitled Life Before Folkie.

Mr Jones, a native of New York, has been in Port Fairy for five years and regularly leads guided tours of the town and the wharf area.

“I’ve always had an interest in history,” Mr Jones said of his reason for writing the book.

“I wanted people who come to Port Fairy or who live in the town to understand the history here.

“Back in the 1850s Port Fairy was a very important place and with the port it was looked at as a potential major centre.

“We are lucky a lot of the history of that time has been documented and some of it physically still remains, so it is important to continue to tell the story.”

As well as his new book, Mr Jones also recently shared his knowledge of Port Fairy’s history with four Moyne Shire councillors.

Mayor James Purcell and councillors Mick Wolfe, Ralph Leutton and Anthony Keane went on a history tour across the town with Mr Jones.

“The councillors were aware in a general way of some of the history of the town and I was able to point out a few things.

“We looked at the many significant public buildings in the town that remain today and also the boxed housing, where families would add on more box sections as their families grew.”

Cr Purcell said the tour was a worthwhile exercise and said it was important the history of Port Fairy continues to be told.

“We have some very good historians in Port Fairy and I think it is a very healthy situation,” Cr Purcell said.

“Some places may only have one voice on their history and it goes unquestioned, but I think having so many people passionate about the history we get those different views. I think the more views we get the closer to the truth we become.”

Life Before Folkie is available from the Port Fairy Visitor Information Centre, Ironbird Books and Slitti café.

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