Author Fred Williams.
Author Fred Williams. Alistair Brightman

Authors tell all at book launch

TWO of Fraser Coast's incredible stories will be launched at the weekend with the 21st birthday celebration of Fraser Island brumby Ellie.

Hervey Bay author Fred Williams tells the tale of Ellie's escape in a new book Equine Epitaph - Under The Rainbow - Fraser Island's Last Brumby.

That day back in 1997 when Ellie, a few days old brumby foal, narrowly escaped certain death from the ranger's gun was a precious one-off moment in time.

She was the last single brumby to be granted a permit to leave.

The now domesticated horse's story paints a picture of how the State Government was handling wildlife on the World Heritage-listed island.

 

SAVED: Ellie was the last ever brumby to receive a QPWS permit to be taken off the Island. She was transported by barge to the mainland in 1997.
SAVED: Ellie was the last ever brumby to receive a QPWS permit to be taken off the island. She was transported by barge to the mainland in 1997. Sonia Hutchinson

The beginning of Ellie's new life was captured in a photo where Maryborough horse enthusiast Sonia Hutchinson is seen helping her off the barge to the mainland.

It was widely believed all the brumbies had been removed until a 2016 Chronicle investigation revealed a small population of wild horses were still roaming the island.

But it's the story of why the horses were first brought to Fraser Island that has captured the attention of Mr Williams during his years of research.

He said the book provided a glimpse into the history of the wild horses from 1879 until 1971 before the government decided to begin culling programs.

 

Author Fred Williams with Sonia Hutchinson and former Fraser Island brumby Ellie at the launch of his latest book
Author Fred Williams with Sonia Hutchinson and former Fraser Island brumby Ellie at the launch of his latest book "Equine Epitaph - Fraser Island's Last Brumby". Alistair Brightman

Now 21, Ellie happily spends her days grazing in a paddock near Aramara.

The public have been invited to come along and help her celebrate her 21st birthday with celebration on Sunday, June 24 at 10.30am at the Criterion Hotel, Wharf Street, Maryborough.

Through the generosity of Criterion Hotel proprietors Brenden and Kylie Keit and Steven Bradshow, historian Fred Williams will release intriguing information behind his latest book on the true story about Fraser Island's rare horses.

The book will be launched by former Fraser Coast Chronicle editor Nancy Bates.

 

A photo of the original Mary Ann locomotive.
The original Mary Ann locomotive. Contributed

Mrs Bates will also launch an expanded reprint of her book Welcome Back Mary Ann which has been arranged by Maryborough City Whistlestop volunteers.

This new reprint contains many colour photographs and interesting information about our native Kauri Pine which was such a valuable resource in earlier times.

Books will be on sale and there will be a sausage sizzle and refreshments available.

There will also be participation by school students and a professional photographer.