As a young boy local author and historian Murray Arnold would often visit his grandparents at their cottage near picturesque Middleton Beach. Originally a farmer from Bruce Rock, these idyllic holidays in Albany made such an impression on Murray and his family that they moved here in 2006 and settled in the area. These precious childhood memories, along with his voracious interest in local history, have inspired Murrays latest book entitled “Middleton Beach – Place of First Light”.
“The Menang Aboriginal people originally called the area Binalup, meaning “place of first light” so I wanted to entitle the book to reflect both of the names it has been known by.” Murray explains.
This beautifully written, extensively researched, coffee table style book takes us on a virtual journey aboard charabanc owner Mr Skrine’s 1920’s Bean Speed Truck; telling us about the places, stories and events of Middleton Beach and surrounding areas along the way, from around the 1860’s right up until the present day. Not only does it include many old, rare pictures but also a variety of original shots captured by local photographer Barbara Madden, depicting the area both today and in various times gone by, alongside the many entertaining recollections of its multiple occupants and visitors.
The book is interspersed with nostalgic written snapshots of local people’s personal memories of growing up around Middleton Beach, along with fascinating, often hilarious and surprising, local facts and stories. Such as the time the local council, in response to a resident’s complaint about the terrible state of Middleton Road, advised them to simply “focus on the good parts”.
The book will be officially launched at Middleton Beach Surf Club on Thursday 1st November at 5pm by well known historian Malcolm Traill from Albany Museum. Murray will be interviewed by ABC presenter Andrew Collins and The Shanty Men will also be performing.
All profits from the sales of this beautifully produced book will be divided equally between Middleton Beach Group and Hawthorn House. No doubt it will make a well deserved appearance in many local Christmas stockings this year, and it is sure to be a cherished gift for years to come.
(Photographs by Victoria Reeves.)