Family strength meets challenges

MEMORIES of a childhood in growing up in the Central Highlands on a Soldier Settler block have been captured by Nigel Nichols in his book Sinking Stations.

The book tracks the life of Paul Nichols, who lived through the Great Depression and found himself a sailor in the Navy in World War II. In post-war Tasmania, Paul was rewared with a Soldier Settler block on which Nigel and his siblings were raised, facing the challenges of isolation, droughts, flood and fire.

Long-term friend and retired ABC radio host, Chis Wisbey said it was a story of life in the 1950s and ’60s, not so much different from life 100 years before. With a five-mile road just to get to the bus stop for school, it was a struggle just to get to the front gate.

The term ‘Sinking Stations’ refers to a call his father would make when tall stories were being told and is from his days in the navy, where in the mess hall, when stories were told the cry would go out. However, such a call had a more serious note for Paul, being required to man his sinking station at least once during his time in the navy.

Mr Wisbey said without power, cut off by flooding rivers, enduring cold, harsh winters and isolation, family was important. “The stories of Nigel and his father are of post-war Tasmania, but when you read this you might be surprised, that is not really so long ago,” Mr Wisbey said.

Sinking Stations is published by Forty South Publishing.