Author and journalist Shirley Hardy-Rix has been announced as the 2018 Koroit Irish Festival ambassador.
A respected writer in her own right, Ms Hardy-Rix is also the daughter of iconic Australian author, Frank Hardy. Ms Hardy-Rix will talk about her family’s close links to Koroit and district.
Hardy was a first cousin to the late Mickey Bourke, of Koroit hotel fame, and international actress Mary Fiorini-Lowell, who still lives in Koroit.
Frank Hardy was born down the road, in Southern Cross, in 1917 to Thomas Hardy, who was born in Mailors Flat, and Winifred Bourke, who was born in Warrnambool.
Hardy spent much of his childhood in Koroit and came to the town in his adult years to visit family. Hardy was a prolific writer who shot to fame with his 1950 novel Power Without Glory, a fictional work tracing the story of crime in Melbourne.
Hardy faced a criminal libel trial as a result of Power Without Glory and it was just after this time that Ms Hardy-Rix was born in Sydney.
Ms Hardy-Rix said she was looking forward to the chance to tell the story of her father’s close connection to Koroit and district at the festival.
“I am very excited and honoured to be asked to be the Koroit Irish Festival ambassador,” Ms Hardy-Rix said.
“Dad often talked about his time growing up in Koroit and Southern Cross, there was a real connection there.
“And of course our family is very proud of our Irish heritage so there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the festival.”
Ms Hardy-Rix said her family lineage includes the Hardy, Bourke, Fogarty and Surkitt names. She said her family heritage is traced to the Irish counties of Clare and Tipperary.
Ms Hardy-Rix inherited her father’s ability to tell a story, having written six books and worked at leading news services including Channel Ten and 3AW.
Three of those books focus on the motorcycle journeys her and husband Brian have undertaken around the world. She is currently undertaking a diploma on family history and is looking forward to some first-hand study when she reaches Koroit.
“I have family buried at Tower Hill and Warrnambool and I am really keen to meet members of my family tree in Koroit.
“That’s the fun bit about family history, hearing the stories behind the names.”
Ms Hardy-Rix will speak at the festival opening night on the Friday, lead the street procession on the Saturday and speak again at the Koroit and District Historical Society on the Sunday. The festival is on April 27-29.