Review: The Banksia Bay Beach Shack – Sandie Docker

The Banksia Bay Beach Shack
Sandie Docker
Penguin Random House
Michael Joseph
ISBN: 9781760890353
RRP $32.99

A year is a long time in the memory of a small town. Stories get twisted, truths become warped, history is rewritten.


When Laura discovers an old photo of her grandmother, Lillian, with an intriguing inscription on the back, she heads to the sleepy seaside town of Banksia Bay to learn the truth of Lillian’s past. But when she arrives, Laura finds a community where everyone seems to be hiding something.


Virginia, owner of the iconic Beach Shack café, has kept her past buried for sixty years. As Laura slowly uncovers the tragic fragments of that summer so long ago, Virginia must decide whether to hold on to her secrets or set the truth free.


Young Gigi and Lily come from different worlds but forge an unbreakable bond – the ‘Sisters of Summer’. But in 1961 a chain of events is set off that reaches far into the future. One lie told. One lie to set someone free. One lie that changes the course of so many lives.

Welcome to the Banksia Bay Beach Shack, where first love is found and last chances are taken.

A moving and heartfelt story by the bestselling author of The Kookaburra Creek Café and The Cottage At Rosella Cove.

Praise for Sandie Docker:
‘Docker soars from the absolute heart’ Australian Women’s Weekly

‘The best of the best of heart-wrenching yarns.’ Woman’s Day


My View:
A tender, bittersweet dual time lined narrative that is a big chunk of mystery with a dash romance, that subtlety puts the spotlight on sexism, misogyny and racism in the 60’s whilst it considers if some secrets really are worth revealing.

It is interesting to step back in time to the small coastal town of Banksia Bay and examine the lifestyles and life choices of some of its inhabitants and the impact those choices made in their lives sixty years later from this distance. Have we progressed? Have we changed very much? I think some of the issues spotlighted have just been dressed in contemporary clothes.

Sandie Docker paints with a vibrant palette; her small-town settings are warm, inviting and picturesque, I could clearly envisage the beach, the surf, the scent of Australian summer. Her characters are finely drawn; you will recognise features and mannerisms of people you may know. The way this small community supports each other is times of adversity will warm your heart.

A delightful, bittersweet read.

Post Script: The Best of the Best: Australia’s Greatest Surf Photographers

The Best of the Best

The Best of the Best

Australia’s Greatest Surf Photos


Surfing Australia

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733639425



A beautifully designed, full-colour collection of the best Australian surfing photographers and their award-winning work

From the drama of Shipsterns to the cyclonic fury of an east coast low; sunrise at Cloudbreak and rainbows at Teahupo’o, this is an awe-inspiring collection of award-winning photographs showcasing all the energy, beauty and drama of the ocean. It reveals surfers like Gilmore, Florence, Fanning and Slater in their element and the power of a moment caught in time. Featuring the winners and finalists of the Nikon/Surfing Australia Surf Photo of the Year Award from 2013 to 2017 … these are the best of the best.

It’s one thing to have an image transport you to a different place, but to actually make you feel like you’re on a surfboard riding in the barrel behind one of the world’s best surfers on a gnarly wave is another level of “best“!’ – Stephanie Gilmore



My View:

What an inspirational book! No, I am not about to grab a surf board and leap into the water ,cancel that image:)  but flicking through these awesome images made me want to pick up a paint brush and explore colour, light, texture! Stunning photography, a kaleidoscope of colours and then some!


This book would make a superb gift for the surfer, the nature lover or the appreciator of fine art.


Spotlight On The Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival – Madelaine Dickie

Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival

Welcome to my blog, Margaret River and to the festival Madelaine Dickie author of Troppo, a book about ” big waves, black magic and mad Aussie expats.”  Madelaine won the TAG Hungerford award in 2014 for an unpublished manuscript which the judges described as  ‘A beautifully observed novel with a strong sense of place about a young Australian abroad witnessing a culture and caught up in events she only half understands.’ 2014 City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Judges’ Report.  Looks like I have discovered another great Australian writer!

Madelaine Dickie

Madelaine shares her writing journey with us.


On writing a surfing novel in Indonesia

The idea for Troppo came about on a surf trip to mainland Sumatra, Indonesia, during my mid-year university holidays in 2009. I was twenty-three, and had already travelled quite extensively through Indonesia. I’d nearly drowned surfing Racetracks at Uluwatu—my leg jammed stuck between two bits of coral; I’d got malaria on Pulau Lembata, in a village where the people still hunt whales in strict accordance with ancient taboos; I’d had a gun pointed at my face crossing the border between West Timor and Timor Leste. On all the islands I visited, I had this tingling feeling that there was magic, danger, and stories to be found. This trip to Sumatra on my uni break was no different, only I found something extra—a setting for Troppo, a village half-real and half-imagined, with its back to a chain mountains and its face to the sea.

I started writing.

In 2012, I was awarded a Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Award to move to Indonesia for a year and finish the first draft of Troppo. I didn’t move to Sumatra, but to a small fishing village in West Java, where my partner and I rented a local house a street back from the sea. It was difficult living in earshot of the ocean—the ocean has this energy that tends to amp you, call you to it. At night, we could hear the tide rise, feel the earth shudder with the impact of the waves. During the day, we could see the offshore wind in the palms, the swell lines curving around the point. Sometimes it was really hard finding the discipline to write. Surfing is easier than writing—everything is easier than writing! When my partner announced strike missions with the boys to some of the big-ticket Indo surf spots like G-Land, Lakey Peak and Panaitan, I had to grit my teeth and say no, I couldn’t come. My target was five hundred words a day. Sometimes I knocked it over in an hour, sometimes it took eight. Always I bribed myself—you can’t go for a second surf, or to Ibu Cici’s beauty salon, or drink any mojitos until you’re done.

Skip ahead several years, from West Java, to Jakarta, to Broome, and finally Troppo was done. I submitted the manuscript for the 2014 City of Fremantle T.A.G Hungerford Award and it won!!! Fremantle Press are launching the book in August this year, and pre-orders are available through the Margaret River Bookshop now. I’m also excited to be heading south for the Margaret River Writers’ Festival on the 3rd-5th June to talk about Troppo. If you’re keen to read a book about big waves, black magic and mad Aussie expats … a story that tingles with the danger and thrill of living somewhere as extraordinary as Indonesia … then I’d love to meet you there.