It’s release day today for the e-book of Janet Gover’s Little Girl Lost – the fourth story set in the tiny Australian outback town of Coorah Creek. To celebrate, Janet takes us on a tour of the Creek.
After four books (and maybe more to come – who knows), I thought it was time I took you to Coorah Creek.
The town is fictional, but in building it, I’ve drawn on the small bush towns I know so well. I grew up in a town just like Coorah Creek – only a fair bit smaller. So come with me now and let me show you around.
This is what you see driving into my old home town. This isn’t Coorah Creek – but in many ways it is.
Let’s start at the pub. The Coorah Creek Hotel is the heart of the town. It’s the place to get together with their friends and neighbours. A lot of community decisions are made at the pub – decisions to form a bush fire brigade or create a sports ground for the kids at the school. Small towns thrive on gossip, but the gossip you hear at the Coorah Creek pub is the kind of gossip that will result in everyone pitching together to help someone repair their home, or clear some land.
This hotel is actually in New South Wales – but this is what the Coorah Creek Hotel looks like – including the wrought iron on the upper veranda. The only difference, this is brick, and Trish’s pub is timber.
This bar is in my head whenever I write a scene set in Trish’s bar… see that big walk in cold room behind the bar. Can’t you just see Syd and Jack storing the kegs there?
When I was a kid, I once rode my pony into this bar. I can’t remember why but it must have seemed like a good idea at the time.
We didn’t have a police station in my town. It just wasn’t big enough so the nearest police station was about eleven miles away. But Coorah Creek does have a police station. In my head it looks like this. This was the post office in my old town, but in some small communities, a one man police station would look a lot like this.
Note the faded and worn paint. Paint doesn’t last long under the outback sun.
Coorah Creek has a hall. It’s where the town Christmas party is held. This is exactly what it looks like. As an aside, I met my first politician in this hall during a community event when I was a teenager.
The hall was built out of corrugated iron – even the outer walls. It was pretty hot inside in the summer.
My town had a single garage. It looked like this when I was a teenager, and it still does. Change comes slowly to these little towns.
This is Ed Collins’s garage exactly.
One of the icons of Queensland – particularly the bush – is wooden houses built on wooden stumps. I guess it had a lot to do with available building material and the need for airflow under the house. Those stumps and the metal caps on them also keep ants and termites out of the house. Most of the houses in Coorah Creek are like this.
Note the water tanks. We had no reticulated water and survived totally on rainwater or water delivered in tanker trucks when it was really dry.
That’s Coorah creek for you. There are not a lot of bright lights. There’s no shopping centre or movie theatre. But there are a lot of good people. That’s the strongest memory I have of growing up in my small town. People would be there whenever help was needed. That’s the town I have tried to capture in Coorah Creek. I hope you’ll go and visit and meet some of my friends.
Janet’s new novel, Little Girl Lost, is the fourth book in her Coorah Creek series and is now available to buy as an eBook. Click HERE for purchasing options.
For more on Janet, follow her on Twitter: @janet_gover
Visit her website: www.janetgover.com