Seven writers congregated at the Narrandera Railway Station Arts Hub for a three hour workshop yesterday. From family memoir to poetry for children to short plays to fantasy and horror interests, the participants made it a joy to do. Roy Wade, somewhat of a local historian was also there. At the break, he told me of some other notable Australians to add to my growing list, one being the famous horse trainer Tommy Smith whose daughter Gai Waterhouse is very prominent now in the same field. Midnight Oil had a song in the mid 80s called Jimmy Sharman’s Boxers from their Red Sails In The Sunset album. It’s a harrowing tale about the travelling tent shows that moved hundreds of miles each night from small town to small town and the men who fought to make a living. Jimmy Sharman it turns out was a Narrandera boy. After the workshop, Roy took me to the house of Fr Hartigan (nee John O’Brien) who was Parish Priest of Narrandera from 1917-1944 and was also one of Australia’s most well-known poets. I have owned a record for years called My Country – Australian classic poems read by Leonard Teale and amongst the Pattersons and Lawsons is ‘Said Hanrahan’ by John O’Brien. His house has retained much of what was part of the poet’s life including the most enormous and heavy Webster dictionary I’ve ever encountered that was sitting on the top of his desk. O’Brien immortalized his maid, Josephine, in a well-known poem, and her quarters at the back of the house looked as if no-one else had entered since the end of the Second World War. An inspiring visit. Today I’ll return to finding out more about Shirley Bliss and the early lives of Sharman and Smith. At this stage I’m planning for three monologues. Hopefully by the end of this week, all three will sit comfortably with each other and be suited to the Narrandera Railway Station car-park where they will be performed in the first half of next year.