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End of Year Updates

A big thank you to my readers! I've really enjoyed writing this blog this year and will be back with more on Ashburton and its surrounds in 2023. If you have ideas or questions about anything to do with Ashburton or its surrounds, please send them through.

In lieu of a post today, here are some updates on my activities and blog posts this year.


Thanks to a workshop I attended at the Craig Family Centre teaching video making and editing tricks, I've been working on videos for my Life Story Writing Workshops. If you're thinking about recording stories from your life, check out the videos to help you get started. Remember: opening a file on your computer called 'life story' totally counts as starting.

Even better, enrol in one of my workshops on Thursdays at the Ashburton Community Centre! In 2023, I will also be at the Balwyn Community Centre on Tuesday afternoons too.

We have lots of interesting discussions about how to write your life story or your family history, ideas for finding more information, and help finding areas to focus on. The class gives you structure and a goal for getting your writing done bit by bit.

Last but not least, this week, my son and I made a video about a trip on the Alamein Line. The sound is ... not good ... but the basic facts are there!

Blog posts

Some updates from Google Stats...

By far the most popular blog post on the site is the Murder of Maureen Ferrari. Tomorrow (17 December) marks the 57th anniversary of her death near Holmesglen Station. Several people who knew her or her killer have contacted me about it throughout the year. Clearly, her death still has a lasting effect on dozens of people across generations. Today she would be 75 years old. She is always remembered fondly by everyone who knew her during her brief life.

I also heard from people who shared their memories of Valerie Dunn and her killer. Sadly, no-one has to date contacted me about the mystery of Beth Miller's death at the hands of the Tynong North Killer. I did read in The Age (subscription required) that there is still a $1 million reward for any information that can assist police with this 40+ year old mystery. As they say, somebody must know something.

Another popular post is the Epic Battle over the re-development of Markham Reserve. I walked past today to take this photo. The building works were expected to be completed by December but it looks more like February, according to the person I spoke to.

The most popular recent post was The Ashburton Stigma. In the past few weeks, the State Government has been auctioning off several of the old Housing Commission homes. One at the top of my street went for $1.49 million with a house you can't live in. Later that week, a resident of one of them decided to paint a giant penis in the middle of our street. He also painted 'FTP' (F*ck The Police) all over the house. Interesting times.

Another popular search term that brings people to the site is 'Neville Lee'. The former City of Camberwell Councillor who wrote Ashburton Through the Ages and helped set up Ashburton's kindergartens emailed me earlier in the week. He's been unwell but still kicking so you can stop putting 'death' and 'obituary' after his name for now.

2022 saw the opening of the first two bars in Ashburton history: Two Doors Brewing and Oydis, both on High Street. They are wonderful additions to our funny little street and we are very privileged to have them at long last.

My pirate stuff

Before I started this blog, I researched and wrote about piracy. I still do!

If you are in need of some historical reading on pirates, my first book 'Atlantic Piracy in the early 19th century: the shocking story of the pirates and survivors of the Morning Star' came out in March. People I don't even know said they really enjoyed it, so that has to mean something! A copy is available at Ashburton Library or from your usual online booksellers. Second book on Somali piracy is nearing completion!

I also write a twice weekly subscription newsletter called Real Pirate History on Substack. All content is free and arrives in your inbox on Mondays and Thursdays. You can also follow me on Instagram at piracyinpictures.

Thanks again for reading and best wishes to everyone for the festive season.

Bring on summer!

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