Memories of women of the west come to life in new book

Cobar local Pauline Hunter has recently released a book, Weevils in the Flour, which is full of childhood memories, recipes and stories of life on the land.

A well-known and long standing Cobar resident, Pauline Hunter, last week released a book about her childhood memories of what life was like for women on the land.

Pauline collaborated with The Cobar Weekly’s Tahnee Tomek to produce the beautiful book entitled ‘Weevils in the Flour’.

Pauline said it turned out to be more than she had hoped for.

“It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Tahnee.

“She’s made it into a marvellous book,” Pauline said.

“We were on the same page. I brought a poem into Tahnee about my aunty and all the things she did in the bush and said ‘this will give you a bit of an idea of what I’m looking for’, and we worked as a team.

“The book is nearly her book as well as mine. I gave Tahnee the information and she made it talk on paper.

“Between us we came up with the product.

“I wanted it to be good quality (as it might even be the last thing I ever do) so I wanted something special,” Pauline said.

And it is, with the 72 page colour book bringing together a wonderful collection of recipes, old wives’ tales, useful tips and anecdotes, local historical information, poems and cartoon drawings by local artist Pete Rogers.

“It started off as some recipes from the Probus Club girls which I was going to put all together and make a little book and give it back to them so they each had a collection of all their recipes,” Pauline said.

She said the idea however grew after going through a big chest she had of poems she’d written over the years, one of which was ‘The Women Of The West’.

“I thought to myself, the men worked really hard, and yes, we’d heard all about them, but the poor old women who slogged away in the background didn’t get much of a mention.”

And it went from there.

Pauline said the book was easy to write.

“I started in April this year. I only had to write everything down and Tahnee did the rest.”

Most of the stories in Pauline’s book come from her childhood memories from about the age of five up until 10 years old watching her mother, aunts, and grandmothers.

“Everything is as clear as crystal,” she said of her memories of that time.

“I saw them battle away with next to nothing: at their laundry tubs, with no electricity, they just did it really hard, and in the heat.

“It would get really hot,” Pauline recalls.

“The temperature would get really high and it would stay there for about three weeks before you got a cool change.

“I remember the day my aunt brought her new baby home from town. Under the veranda the thermometer reached 117 on the old scale (that’s 47 degrees Celsius).

“There were no air conditioners or fans in those days so we often slept out on the lawns.

“The mozzies were a problem, but as I say in the book, we use to burn the cow dung to keep the mozzies away!”

Pauline said the name for the book, ‘Weevils in the Flour’ comes from one of her childhood memories that there were always weevils to be found in the flour which was delivered in large bags every couple of months and stored in tin chutes.

She said before you could use the flour, you had to sift out the weevils.

“It was something that just stuck in my mind as a kid, weevils in the flour.”