"Old Salt" is a story that has been crying out to be told. The book is not an accurate historical document nor is it simply the history of commercial fishing, it is more about people of the sea - what I call a "living history" - fishermen and their families, boat builders, lighthouse folk and larrikins. Pioneers with salt in their veins and the steely desire to forge a living and raise a family in tough times. The misery of the Wars and the Depression resulted in a "tough as teak" generation of hard living Australians who were defined, not only by their resilience, but by their care and consideration for others and their ability to "battle on" against what at times must have seemed impossible odds. Woven through their social fabric was a strong thread of humour, a unique sense, that remains synonymous to this country. The book pays tribute to those before us and recognizes their invaluable contribution.
Set during the same time period as my previous book "Broughton Islanders", "Old Salt" is similar in many ways, however you will find a different set of characters and a different, much bigger, stage. Rather than on an island, this book is based on the mainland in and around Port Stephens from Stockton and Boat Harbour in the south to Nelson Bay, Tea Gardens, Hawks Nest and the Myall Lakes further north.
The old photographs truly reflect the times. Reading the book you will become part of a very significant period in the development of, not only Port Stephens but of this country. It is hoped that others who read "Old Salt" will take it upon themselves to document their region in a similar fashion. written by John Stinker Clarke
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