Delwyn ‘Del’ Richards said it has taken him 40 years to comply a history of his birthplace, his family and life living and working in the bush.
Now that work is completed and published in his book ‘My Country Life …for what it’s worth’.
He will be returning to his birthplace for the book’s official launch at the Singleton Library on Friday, April 6 starting at 10:00am.
Del lives in Mossman in far North Queensland where he runs Fine Feather Tours an enterprise that combines his passion for native bird life and photography.
“Over twenty-three years, many guests have joined us as we located bird species for their records and in turn their digital cameras,” he writes in the introduction to the book.
But it all began back at St Clair just outside Singleton, a place best know now for the lake, but once home to members of the Richards family.
“My memory falls back to a chilly south-westerly wind blowing with accompanying sleet one winter's afternoon in 1969. Our community was attending a funeral for a local resident. That's what friends and neighbours always did, the digging and the burying at St. Columba's Church north of Singleton in the Hunter River Valley, NSW,” he writes.
“Sheltering in the lee side of the church my cousin related his thoughts, “Well, there's a book died with that man”. It's been a comment that this author has reflected back to many times; although more than forty years were to elapse before I acted on that initial thought.”
He says very few country people put pen to paper therefore their life and family histories have largely been obliterated by time. For that reason alone he thought it important to record the Richards family history in the Singleton district and he entwined that with a history of the region and his life.
“The family scattered when their farms where bought for the construction of Lake St Clair,” he said.
While recording his family’s history the book also describes his life living and working in the bush including travelling extensively and competing in campdrafts and rodeos.
“In 1980 my wife's health deteriorated in becoming a chronic asthmatic, due to industrial pollution, so we moved to Narrabri, northern NSW where she had grown up,” he writes
His wife’s health recovered but sadly they lost their entire home and belongings in a fire
“It was a most difficult situation to deal with, resulting in a “no choices” learning curve. That event again served as a reminder to pen this volume,” he says.
“My wife Pat often reminded me “We've lived in the best of times” mainly because life had straight forward expectations. Upon reflection how right she was.”