May 2014 Event: Bushfire Summer & Malta in the Past

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This month's presentation consisted of two parts. Firstly there was a book launch by Lou Drofenik, and after that Mr Joe Flores presented a photo show entitled: "Malta in the Past".
Lou Drofenik's new book is entitled "Bushfire Summer" . She is referring to the Black Saturday Bushfires of 2009. She wrote the book from her experience because her home was involved in the above-mentioned bushfire.  She explored the relationships between people in a small rural community such as hers following  their ordeal. The protagonist of the novel is a man of Maltese origin. Lou told us how she decided on this character.  
When on a visit to Malta she met a person whose brother was sent to Australia under the Child Migrant Scheme.  Unfortunately he did not receive the promised education, whereas the brother in Malta did; in fact he is now an academic. As to the front cover of the book, it is the picture of the Bush Fire Memorial Tree made out of stainless steel. The leaves of the tree were donated by volunteer blacksmiths in Whittlesea and from around the world. It was in honour of the people impacted by the bushfire. The tree is ten metres tall and is now in Strathewen.
The second part, Malta and the Past, was presented by Joe Flores, who showed us a number of photos of Malta dating from the late 1800s. It was interesting to see the different ships and sailing boats (dghajjes tal-Latini) of the era. The Grand Harbour was always very busy. 
There were photos of King Edward's visit to Malta in 1903. It was nostalgic to see photos of the shops and entrance to Valletta. There was even a photo of the first water supply in Mellieha!
The audience participated by endeavouring to recognise the various buildings and streets which are now so different from what they were then.
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