Scribe’s work champions beloved bay

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Peter SweeneyGeraldton Guardian
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Author Howard Gray, reading his book while relaxing in the bay he has written about.
Camera IconAuthor Howard Gray, reading his book while relaxing in the bay he has written about. Credit: Picture: Peter Sweeney, Peter Sweeney, The Geraldton Guardian

Probably the best endorsement Howard Gray has been given for his latest book came from a self-proclaimed “non-reader”.

“I couldn’t put it down, I felt as though I was living in those times,” Mayor Shane Van Styn said when launching Jambinbirri — Champion Bay.

“It is an amazing read. It takes you to the place and time. I felt like I was the mayor of this area thousands and thousands of years ago.”

There are 99 stories — the author did make the century before combining two stories — in the 250-page book, which features mind-boggling photographs, paintings, sketches, charts and maps depicting human activity on the waters and shores of Champion Bay.

The name given to Champion Bay by the Aboriginal people who lived there before European settlement is not known, lost in the cultural destruction which followed.

Jambinbai was adopted phonetically from the colonists’ name, while Jambinbirri is a later derivation adapting to the linguistic conventions of the Wajarri language groups.

The richly talented author best sums up his sixth book.

“A deep sense of place requires an appreciation of time, of natural cycles and of the nature of human motivation and endeavour,” Dr Gray said.

“The purpose of this collection of images and stories is thus to bring some of Jambinbirri-Champion Bay’s attributes and history to the attention of residents and visitors of today.

“I am sure the book will prompt many ‘I remember when’ conversations.

“But it is hoped their 400-year range will give the reader a closer connection to Jambinbirri-Champion Bay and the community on its shore; that sense of place.”

The only person who will probably complain about the size and weight of Jambinbirri — Champion Bay is Santa Claus.

His red and white coloured sacks are likely to get heavier.

Jambinbirri, which costs $50, is available by calling 0427 065 060 or ordering at

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