A 40-year search was finally resolved happily for a local woman on Saturday with the emotional discovery of a rare treasure at the Lifeline Bookfest.
Urged by a friend in Brisbane to attend the Bookfest, Cheryl Crighton could not believe her eyes or her luck when she found the 1941 publication “Active Service”, part of a five series set: Soldiering On — The Australian Army at Home and Overseas, compiled by the Australian Military Forces.
Cheryl’s late grandfather, John Wallace Sone, a First World War Digger, had the remaining four volumes and Cheryl desperately wanted to complete her grandfather’s set.
Inspired by a school task set in 1979 to discover more of her family history, Cheryl commenced a search for the missing volume as part of that assignment.
“I don’t know how many op shops, second-hand stores, jumble sales and garage sales I have attended in that time in the search for this book,” she said.
“I had not known of the Lifeline Bookfest until that friend in Brisbane contacted me and suggested I take a look.”
“I went on Saturday and immediately found I was in book heaven. I went straight to the military books table but without success. I then went to the rare books table and there it was!
“I just picked it up and held it to me — all the time tears were welling in my eyes — I just couldn’t believe I had it in my hands.
“The book, to many people, would mean absolutely nothing but this was extremely personal and to have that feeling of completion, of satisfaction after all these years was overwhelming.
“The tears came again when I paid for it. I couldn’t believe it was just $10. It was in wonderful condition. I would gladly have paid $100.”
Cheryl said it was ironic to look at the 1941 volume which is so well cared for and her grandfather’s other four volumes which have obviously been very well “flicked through”.
She said the quality was chalk and cheese but to her, the state of the book would not really have mattered.
“It was what it meant in filling a space in my life,” she said.
“Both my grandparents meant a lot to me. He was wounded in the First World War and served as a warden in the Second World War.”
Cheryl, who now lives between Wallaville and Gin Gin, has written several books, each with a focus on history.
Very much a small town country girl, Cheryl hails from Cookardinia, between Wagga and Albury.
The volumes Cheryl had in her possession prior to locating Active Service (1941), are Soldiering On (1942), Khaki and Green (1943), Jungle Warfare (1944) and Stand Easy (1945).
The books substantially feature stories written by servicemen.
Bookfest results make great reading
Lifeline Bookfest organiser Andrew Armstrong said the event had reached its budgeted target on Saturday and Sunday, the third day of the event, had attracted good crowds.
“This was our first attempt at a three-day event and it has gone really well. We have achieved our best result financially with takings up 13 per cent and our attendance pushing up towards 3000,” he said.
“It looks like three day Bookfests are here to stay.”
The next Bookfest is due in around six months time.