Carol Altmann’s iconic Warrnambool…’This is home’

Author Carol Altmann relaxes in front of her favourite Warrnambool icon Swintons. picture by Jenny Fawcett 2014
Author Carol Altmann relaxes in front of her favourite Warrnambool icon Swintons. picture by Jenny Fawcett 18 Aug 2014

A new publication launched last night aims to honour iconic Warrnambool figures and landmarks before they are lost to the passage of time.

‘Warrnambool…this is home’ is resident author and editor Carol Altmann’s tribute to familiar faces and places central to Warrnambool’s identity.

“Iconic figures and landmarks are so much more than just buildings and structures,’ Carol explained.
“They hold our memories and our stories that have built up over generations, and give us a sense of place and belonging.”

Carol Altmann's new publication documents iconic Warrnambool faces and places Despite an element of unashamed sentiment – “call it old fashioned nostalgia” – Carol says her book is more about giving tribute, to people and places that have stood the test of time:

“These are landmarks which become part of our collective community memory; a means for people to orientate themselves by,” Carol said.
“Warrnambool is in a period of rapid change in terms of its economic and retail makeup.
“The old crew are moving on. Businesses are not being passed on like they were. I wanted to capture at least some of it before it was gone.”

 

Launch guest-speaker Michael Barling of Warrnambool gets a sneak peak at Carol Altmann's new publication. photo by Jenny Fawcett
Launch guest-speaker Michael Barling of Warrnambool gets a sneak peak at Carol Altmann’s new publication. photo by Jenny Fawcett

Warrnambool teacher and 2013 ALP candidate Michael Barling is  guest -speaker for Carol’s  book-launch and says she engages people so they connect and understand the environment surrounding the telling of her stories.

“It’s a really happy knack if you can write a book and people connect with, and see the human side of the broader picture,” Michael said.
“That’s a very good talent. And I think this is what Carol does with this book.”

Michael  was born and raised in Warrnambool and says the iconic figures and landmarks Carol chose for her publication will be familiar to a lot of people with their own stories to add:

“It’s the terrific thing about this book, so many people are going to be able to say I have a story about the Woollen Mill, or I have a story about Materia Brothers, or the Politis family at Seafood’s.”

 

Bojangles artwork by the late Robert Ulmann, from Carol Altmann's new publication 'Warrnambool...this is home'. picture by Jenny Fawcett 2014
Bojangles artwork by the late Robert Ulmann, from Carol Altmann’s new publication ‘Warrnambool…this is home’. picture by Jenny Fawcett 2014

Carol personally took each of the 30 photos for her publication and though ‘new’ to photography – and which she found ‘terrifying’ – Michael believes Carol has chosen significant faces and places for her stories:

“Lots of these photos I can look at and connect with straight away. If I had to choose 20 to 30 iconic places in Warrnambool I would probably pick most of what Carol has put in this book,” said Michael.
“If you look at these photos like Lucas brothers, or Kermond’s brothers who started up in 1949 you have people with connections across generations. And that’s the thing; it makes it a very human connection.

Iconic Fletcher Jones silver ball has had a reprieve from demolition by an active grassroots campaign in Warrnambool. photo by Jenny Fawcett
Iconic Fletcher Jones silver ball has had a reprieve from demolition by an active grassroots campaign in Warrnambool. photo by Jenny Fawcett

After beginning her  career as a journalist in Warrnambool Carol also worked as a feature writer and lecturer  before her return  to Warrnambool in 2013 with partner Louise to launch their online Bluestone Magazine (with its unique south-west content).

Carol staunchly supported successful Warrnambool campaigns to save the historic Fletcher Jones gardens and silver ball and the late Robert Ulmann’s whale mural.

“Both have been remarkable, grassroots campaign as people feel a deep attachment to them so it is hard to tear down a landmark when it has so many hearts still in it,” Carol said.
“A lot of people had written off the Fletcher Jones site as being too expensive or as too hard to repair after a decade of near neglect.”

A fundraising initiative to restore Ulmann’s mural quickly reached its target with local support.

“Ulmann’s whale mural is a timeless tribute to our wonderful whales which was completed by one of the great characters of Warrnambool and is worth preserving.”
“I think these things touch our hearts and that is why people have chosen to donate and ensure it is kept for future generations to enjoy as much as we have.”

Warrnambool, in Victoria's South-West.
Warrnambool, in Victoria’s South-West.

For Carol this publication is as much a reflection about the meaning of ‘home’as it of attribution:

“For most people who come from Warrnambool there is a very strong connection to the city,” said Carol.
“As people from Warrnambool we know about a Kermond’s, or the colour of a Ryan’s Removal van or where to find Mack’s Snacks – these are the threads that bind us and give a sense of unity and belonging.”

 

Warrnambool's iconic angel tops our historic war memorial. picture by Jenny Fawcett
Warrnambool’s iconic angel

Carol’s cover icon for “Warrnambool…this is home” is the Angel atop of Warrnambool’s War Memorial in Liebig Street.

“It encapsulates what this book is all about. No matter how old you are, if you are from Warrnambool you will know this angel!” Carol said.
“It’s a highly visual landmark that sits in the heart of Warrnambool, has become a strange rite of passage for young people who drive laps around it, and which has a colloquial name – the Dirty Angel – that only Warrnamboolians understand.”

 

A limited edition of 500 copies of ‘Warrnambool…this is home’ is set for official release at the Last Coach in Warrnambool on Tuesday August 19 from 7pm. Each book is individually numbered and signed, cost is $30 and books can be ordered direct through Carol at Bluestone Magazine or from Warrnambool Books.

 

Remembrance reminder from Warrnambool's war memorial
Remembrance reminder from Warrnambool’s war memorial

LINKS
Journalist Matt Neal successfully sums up 30 things that mostly only Warrnamboolians will understand.

Iconic Warrnambool Places and Events

 

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