Wrong Way Round by Lorna Hendry was published in 2015. Lorna Hendry was recently in Western Australia as Emerging Writer-in-Residence at the KSP Writers’ Centre, and I read her book after hearing her give an author talk. She was as engaging and vivacious in her talk, as she is in the book.
The book chronicles the journey Lorna took around Australia with her husband and two young sons. The germ of an idea became reality, as Lorna and her husband quit their jobs in Melbourne, rented their house out to a Canadian family, and embarked on a journey about which they had not done much research, in case it turned out that the journey was, as she writes, “a stupid idea and we should resign ourselves to going to work every day like everyone else”. The adventure turned into a three-year odyssey.
This is not a dry travelogue, but it is a vividly described story about people, places and family. The Hendrys visited places which were off the beaten track. The harsh beauty, the splendid silence, the eccentric and colourful characters, the ghost of times past ancient and more recent, are all so beautifully rendered. They spent months living and working in an aboriginal community in the Kimberley. When the family they rented their Melbourne home to wanted to stay for another year, the Hendrys travelled back to the North of Broome and stayed for another year. This is also the story of a family, the comedy and the conflicts, and how they each grew individually and as a family unit.
In this book, Lorna Hendry takes you with her family on her journey. You will see an Australia that many of us don’t see and don’t know about. It might have been the wrong way round, but provided excellent material to write about and for readers to read about.