Over 80 people attended the John Blay literary luncheon on Tuesday at the Waterfront Hotel. Hosted by Janice Sager of the Moruya Bookstore these literary lunches are becoming very popular, so much so that the events nearly sell out once announced as was the case with Tuesday's author, explorer and naturalist, John Blay.
John took the gathering on a warm journey back to the time he wrote the first edition of Back Country Trek through the Deua and Wadbilliga, and travelled the Divide behind Moruya with his mule Zack. John's was a rich presentation with a mix of humour of the challenges he overcame in his travels and in his own personal journey of discovery of the wilderness at our doorstep. To many who venture into that country it would be overpowering and a struggle to survive but John learnt the ways and developed the knowledge and the eyes to be able to read the country and to know its diversities. As he spoke of plant species and rock formations you could see that these otherwise inanimates had come alive and become his friends. John took the gathering with him south, via his slide show of maps and old photos until they arrived at the Bundian Way where he then detoured and described a journey from Mt Kosciusko to the coast along an old aboriginal track that, in its time, was a pedestrian highway linking the mountains to the sea. His books are filled with a passion for this country and his ease of describing it makes the country even more accessible to someone new to the South East who would love to understand a little more of the mountains that stand to the west. Back Country and On Track both trace the region’s people, natural history and country.On Track deals specifically with The Bundian Way and the rediscovery of this important shared history pathway. Now heritage-listed – and thanks to the work of Blay, Aboriginal communities and local people – the Bundian Way is set to be one of the great Australian walks. At the end of his presentation and question time John was warmly met by members of the audience who had discovered him for the first time along with those who came forward with old copies of their Back Country first editions to be signed and to share anecdotes of places and faces that are mentioned throughout the pages. Congratulations go to Mark and Linda Ethell of the Waterfront Hotel Motel, and to their Waterfront Bistro chefs and front of house team for seamlessly (and ever so quietly) serving a delicious lunch and dessert throughout the presentation. If you couldn't attend the day John's books are available at Moruya Books, 4/9 Church St, Moruya. For those who might like to have their name added to the mailing list for upcoming lunches call in and see Janice and her team at Moruya Books to be added to the list. Thank you Janis Sager for another much enjoyed literary lunch and thanks to John Blay for his warmth and generosity of spirit.
Above: John Blay with Moruya Books owner and literry luncheon host Janice Sager