Written by Dianne Wolfer
Illustrations by Brian Simmonds
Published by Fremantle Press, 2010
Winner WA Young Readers’ Book Award 2010
CBCA Shortlisted Book 2009
Fay lives alone with her father on bleak, windswept Breaksea Island, but her isolated life takes a dramatic turn with the outbreak of World War I.
Fay collects the messages of lonely soldiers heading to the front line. She is their last hope of getting messages telegraphed back home. After their departure for the battlefields of Egypt and Gallipoli, she follows their fortunes and continues her long distance conversations with letters and postcards.
Then one day, a single, sad telegram arrives, and the war is brought brutally home.
In 1914, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter, Fay Howe, signalled to homesick soldiers travelling to World War One battlefields as part of the 1st AIF convoy. There were 36 ships carrying 30,000 troops and over 7500 horses in King George Sound. For many soldiers, Albany was their last sight of Australia.
Based on the true story of Faye, this gentle tale brings to life the hardships of those left at home during the war – waiting, wondering, hoping.
Drawing on fascinating archival material, and interweaving fact with fiction, award-winning author Dianne Wolfer deftly recreates this period in Australian history from the perspective of a young girl.
Lighthouse Girl has featured in documentaries, Illuminart story projections and Fay provided inspiration for the Little Girl Giant in the amazing Royal De Luxe Theatre’s performance of The Giants. See Dianne’s personal gallery or follow this link for photographs. An Interview with Dianne and the team from Channel 9’s Destination WA on Breaksea Island gives further insights into Fay’s story and shows evocative scenes from the island. ‘The Lighthouse Girl’ by playwright Hellie Turner and Black Swan Theatre opens in Albany/Perth in April 2017.
- Winner, West Australian Young Readers Book Awards
- Shortlist, NSW Premier’s History Awards
- Shortlist, WA Premier’s Awards
- Shortlist, CBCA Crichton Award
- Shortlist, CBCA ‘Notable Book’
Other book in the series
Behind the Scenes
I didn’t travel far to research Lighthouse Girl. Breaksea island is just off the coast of Albany in Western Australia’s south-west region. Since publication in 2005, Lighthouse Girl has inspired many school productions, a song by Caddy Cooper, been serialised in The West Australian newspaper and been part inspiration for the amazing Giants.
Using the viewpoint of Faye, author Dianne Wolfer has sensitively balanced the factual content in a way which will appeal to a contemporary teen reader.
There’s a traditional feel to the heavy, red cover and the tactile sense that this is a book to keep.
What will make Lighthouse Girl so attractive for educators, is not just the inspiring story of a real Australian girl, WW1 facts nor that the graphic collage is suitable for older readers, but it fits patterns of text structure and organisation of various kinds of texts, including narrative, exposition, verse, narrative voice and point of view which the curriculum requires.
-Hazel Edwards, award-winning author of “There’s a Hippopotamus on my Roof Eating Cake”. Find the full review here.