City of champions

SQUEEZING Queanbeyan's 175-year history into a book was always going to be a challenge and doesn't Nichole Overall, author of the soon-to-released City of Champions know it.

But 256 pages, 300 photos and about 50,000 words later, Mrs Overall's finished work has been sent to the printers.

The book is set for official release in September, coinciding with the town's 175th birthday, however this was never the author's intention.

"Originally the idea was going to be something simpler, just a coffee table style book with some photos and a few words. I thought it was going to take six to 12 months at the very most," Mrs Overall said.

"The more I went into it, the more I realised there was so much about the city that people didn't know, that they really should know…it's not a history book, it's not an academic text: it's a historical account.

"The information included is to show readers a snapshot of the development of the town and it's journey, some of the people and events that have been so instrumental over the last 175 years."

Mrs Overall said one of the biggest challenges of the book was picking and choosing which parts of the town's extensive history to focus on.

"What I've tried to do is choose things that were firsts or quite momentous, significant milestones and events. The points throughout Queanbeyan's history that have either been overlooked or not given enough recognition," she said.

"You know you can't please all of the people but I hope what we've done is good enough that you can say it was well worth five years of effort."

A freelance writer with a background in journalism, Mrs Overall completed extensive research to compile the book. She thanked local historians, library staff and members of the Queanbeyan and District Historical Society.

Mrs Overall said she had been compelled to write the book after she realised a historical text on the town hadn't been written for some time.

"I want to bring Queanbeyan's history, story and journey to new generation who honestly, most of them don't know the stories of this city. Many of the older generation do but there isn't a single record in one place," she said.

"What I hope that this book does is that it sparks interest in other people and if they want to find out more they can go to far more extensive sources and find out more information themselves."

And as to the name of the book City of Champions?

"[The title is] of course a reference to our sporting champions obviously. As much as Wagga, Orange, Wollongong claim to be a city of sporting champions, in terms of per head of population, given all the research I've done Queanbeyan really can claim that title," she said.

"We're also a city of champions in every other sense as well, from community service to regional leaders, commerce and industry, artistic pursuits to cultural endeavours. 

"I hope our passion for this city comes through. It's a celebration and presentation of the city in a way that people can really sit up and say this is an amazing place and deserves positive attention."

City of Champions will be released on September 26 and can be pre-ordered by emailing orders@qbncityofchampions.com.au. There a limited edition hardcopy available for $80 and a standard edition for $49.

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