Literary Connections to Local History

This blog entry sounds a lot like a project proposal but, to be frank, in essence, that’s precisely what it is ; )
I took the above photo (plus many more) of Australian Nobel Prize-winning author Patrick White’s residence in Castle Hill. White and his partner Manoly Lascaris named the house “Dogwoods” and it was from here White wrote his Nobel prize winning novel, Voss. The residence is privately owned now and is used as office space for a family law firm. Luckily for me, however, the owners are aware of the heritage-listed building’s historical significance and were happy for me to tour the inside and take photos, which I provided as archive material to my historical society.
For my major project I am creating a webpage for Hills District Historical Society’s website on the literary connection of Patrick White to the area and how literary representations of place can help us to shape history. I managed to get hold of some really interesting census information for the Hills District during White’s residence in the area, and have purchased a copy of White’s application on Lascaris’ behalf supporting his naturalisation (which I will donate to the HDHS as further archive material).
I am going to link the anxieties of “otherness” in White’s texts (and society at the time) to Castle Hill. As a place of increasing acceptance of “otherness”, demonstrated through the census and White’s texts, I thought it would be a nice way to “wave the flag”, if you will, for the local history of Castle Hill. The census information, application for Lascaris’ naturalisation, and White’s autobiography about their relationship also helps to link White (through time) to the current environment of immigration through asylum, LGBT rights and marriage equality, etc that I thought would be a proud connection to the area.