I’m very fortunate to have been granted a Writer’s Residency through the National Trust of WA’s Inspire program.
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been based at Peninsula Farm in Maylands, a 180 year old farmhouse built by colonial family the Hardeys. This week I start at Woodbridge House, a manor home built in the 1880s in Guildford. Both places are on the beautiful Swan River.
Woodbridge is a stately home that belonged to the Harper family. The schoolroom here was the very beginnings of the adjacent Guildford Grammar school.
I’m working on research for a historical novel during this residency. My book is set in the first World War and features a young woman who grew up in Guildford but goes to teach at a school in York.
I’ve already found some great points of connection between my story and these houses. For example, the Harpers invited a young school teacher to come from York to teach at their own private school. Additionally, two sons of the Harper clan went to fight in WWI and both sadly died. And the Hardey family also lost a son, Joseph, in WWI.
However, the main point of the residency is to provide a space for me to explore ideas and write (and presumably to get scared by odd bangs and creaks as I sit alone in these old houses). As I write this, I’m in an upstairs room overlooking the Swan, with the sounds of train horns and the Governor Stirling netball program kids drifting past my ears.
Huge thanks to the National Trust of WA for this opportunity.