Author Rosalind Dale has lived in the Southern Highlands most of her life and has a strong connection to the region and its past. She credits a “fabulous history teacher at her school” for instilling a love of history in her that led to her book: Bunty Bailey’s Adventures in Berrima.
Ros was born and raised in Sydney’s Hills District and first came to the Southern Highlands as a young teenager on holidays. Her love of the region and its rich history has shaped her life since moving there nearly forty years ago. Having worked in various roles in the Public Service and in private enterprise, she now volunteers at Berrima Courthouse and researches local history. Ros is passionate about sharing the history of Berrima with newcomers to the Southern Highlands and lobbying for environmental improvements.
Rosalind says although she had written an historical account of the region from pre-white settlement to the mid-1900s, her inspiration for Bunty came from a desire to write about Berrima’s past in a way that would appeal to children.
She says she came to realise children were the future custodians of Berrima’s past; therefore, if she wanted to preserve what remained she needed to inspire children and get them interested in history, in the same way as she had been influenced in her childhood.
Prior to publication she asked two students from Berrima Public School for feedback—judging by the 12-year-olds’ comments Rosalind has achieved what she set out to do. One student responded: “I don’t really like history, but this story is really interesting.” The other asked: “What happens next?”
That question prompted Rosalind to write 14 more storylines for Bunty in the form of podcasts. As well, she has produced a Teachers Resource Kit—it follows the school syllabus from Kindergarten to Year 6—and covers every chapter of the book with suggestions for activities, assignments, discussions and school excursions. A copy of the book is included in the kit. The final word on Rosalind’s book comes from a grandmother who says her six-year-old grand-daughter couldn’t get enough: “I had to tell her I thought three chapters was enough for one go!”