Memories of a coastal upbringing

FORMER Batemans Bay resident Joan Lewis, who now lives at Meroo Meadow, is providing a glimpse back in time at the way the town looked when she was growing up.

Her book, Memories of Batemans Bay, features her paintings, anecdotes, poetry and even a recipe for caramel pie.

It is her way of preserving cultural heritage that has been lost over the years.

“The idea has grown over the years because there are so many lovely old buildings that aren’t there anymore, and I wanted to give people an idea of what the place looked like before,” she said.

She put the book on her bucket list, and it was an unlikely factor that hastened its completion.

“I broke my hip last year and I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of things,” she said.

“It had a silver lining because I moved everything into the lounge room and finished the paintings for the book.”

Ms Lewis was born in Batemans Bay Hospital – then in North Street – in 1942, and went to Batemans Bay Public School when it was on Beach Road. She lived in the Bay until leaving for Canberra in 1960. She now lives at Meroo Meadow but is a frequent visitor to Batemans Bay, where she still has many family members.

Her family’s history in Batemans Bay started long before she was born.

“My great, great grandfather had the mail contract between here and Moruya,” she said.

Ms Lewis has been painting since she was “knee-high to a grasshopper”.

“I used to scribble on my school books and I got my first easel when I was 10 years old,” she said.

She won best work by a woman and best work in the birds section at the Royal Easter Show in 2000.

The paintings in Memories of Batemans Bay were taken from black and white photos.

 “I have remembered the colours as best I can,” she said.

Memories of Batemans Bay is available from the Batemans Bay Courthouse Museum and various retailers in Batemans Bay, Mogo and Nelligen. 

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