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The Wilderness Society Award

HOPE BAY has won The Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children’s Literature for 2006. The award was presented at The Reading Room, a lovely bookshop in Manly, in Sydney.  I couldn’t be there for the day and so Roísín Carolan did the honours. Thank you so much Roísín for reading my speech and accepting the award on my behalf.

   This is my speech that Roísín read:

I am so happy that HOPE BAY has received The Wilderness Society 2006 Environment Award for Children’s literature for Secondary Readers.  I would like to thank The Wilderness Society for honouring my book in this way.

Wilderness is at the heart of HOPE BAY and the coastal mallee landscape of South Australia is almost a character in itself.  During the writing of this book I visited many of the wilderness areas of the South Australian Coast.  A trip to Kangaroo Island was especially inspiring.  Around 100 years ago a small group of people realised that if the mallee continued to be cleared and burnt by the early settlers they would lose forever their unique animals and plants.  After a long struggle the Flinders Chase National Park was declared in 1919.  It was an astounding achievement as the entire Western End of the island was protected.

 It is now a sanctuary for species that are threatened if not extinct on the mainland; such as Tammar Wallabies, platypus, Australian sea lions and fur seals.  I was greatly inspired in the writing of HOPE BAY by this landscape.  My feeling while there was of overwhelming gratitude to the people who fought all those years ago to protect these plants and animals.  I have exactly the same gratitude to The Wilderness Society today as they continue this struggle.

It means a great deal to me that HOPE BAY has been honoured with this award.  Thank you again to The Wilderness Society and to everyone here today in support of the Environment Awards for Children’s Literature.  Thank you also to The Reading Room, for kindly hosting this event.  I’m sorry that I was not able to attend in person but I’m grateful that Roísín could accept this award on my behalf and read these words to you all.  Thank you, Nicole.

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