Dale Lorna Jacobsen with her new novel, Union Jack.
Dale Lorna Jacobsen with her new novel, Union Jack. Contributed

The story of Union Jack in new novel

QUEENSLAND author Dale Lorna Jacobsen has used first-hand research on the Valley Rattler and the extensive resources of the Gympie Library Local History Room to produce a dramatic new political novel.

Entitled Union Jack, the book is based on the true story of Dale's grandfather, Jack O'Leary, who worked on the construction of the Mary Valley Line from 1911 to 1914. The story commences with Jack taking the author's grandmother to live in a navvy camp at Monkland the day after their wedding, before moving on to trace Jack's career as an organiser for the Australian Railways Union.

In Dale Jacobsen's words, Union Jack features a cast of rogues, opportunists and idealists and is set against a background of corruption, strikes and union bashing. Jack O'Leary, socialist, railway worker and fiery unionist, and his friend Fred Paterson, a young lawyer who has joined the newly formed Communist Party of Australia, face off against two very powerful opponents in Queensland Premier and Labor heavyweight Bill McCormack and his close mate "Red" Ted Theodore.

While the manuscript takes the form of an historical novel, the author stresses that it has been painstakingly researched, is factually correct and could reliably be used as a reference source.

Dale travelled twice on the Rattler, which she describes as a wonderful experience, and was also fortunate to have four local railwaymen, all mentioned in the front of the book, to take her on a line inspection.

Other local sources, including the work of well-known author Pat Towner, are also acknowledged.

In recognition of the local significance of Union Jack, Gympie Regional Libraries will welcome the author when she hosts a special presentation on Thursday, July 26, at 10.30am in the Gympie Library foyer.

Dale will present readings and background information on her research, accompanied by a slide show. Copies of the book will be available to buy or loan from the library.

This event follows a series of presentations at the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, Brisbane Central and Maleny Libraries, Trades Hall in Melbourne, the Centenary celebrations of the Rail Tram and Bus Union Dinner and the Friends of the Ipswich Library Literary Luncheon.

All those interested in Queensland political history are welcome.

Bookings essential. Contact Gympie Library on 54810859, by email library@gympie.qld.gov.au or call at any library branch to secure your seat, by July 21, 2012.

Gympie Times


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