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  • Vermilion Voice

‘Growing Up On The Prairies’ – Book Launch

From left, Nell's daughters, Editor Sue Brown from Iowa, U.S.A.; and Publisher Doreen Burge from Australia. Photo Angela Mouly

The Book Launch for ‘Growing Up On The Prairies,’ recollections written by the late Nell Charlwood (nee) East, was held at the Vermilion Senior’s Centre on September 12. Family from Australia, Edmonton, and the surrounding area attended to celebrate the launch. According to family, Charlwood was the last baby born in the old Vermilion Hospital on June 30, 1919, to Neil and Dora East. She was raised nine miles south-west of Vermilion in a house (built by her father) that still stands today. After marrying and moving to Australia, Nell wrote her recollections for her grandchildren so that they would know what life was like during those years in Alberta. The book tells tales of her father’s gold mining expedition in the Australian desert (where he met her mother), her mother’s nursing background which proved useful on many occasions on the prairies, escapades with her brother, and the hardships of the early years. For instance, the cover depicts getting lost on the Vermilion River during a blizzard. The book also details her teaching career, how she met her husband (a member of the Australian Defence Force), and later moved to Australia where she went back as a librarian for 25 years and lectured at Melbourne University on children’s literature. “She had so much energy; mom was always very hard working,” said daughter, Sue Brown. “After 72 years of living in Australia, she never applied for an Australian citizenship. As she aged, her Canadian anthem meant more and more to her. Our mother missed her homeland, and now we feel like we’ve brought a part of her back,” said daughter, Doreen Burge. Cousin, Isabelle Johnson (nee) Jones originally from Dewberry, assisted with organizing the event and declared the recollections officially launched. Guests went on to enjoy visiting and a lunch prepared by Red Feather Ridge.

Pictured, the late Author, Nell Charlwood. Photos submitted

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