Book Review – Ladies of Bingara

September 1, 2015

Last Tuesday saw the launch of the latest of historian, researcher and author Ron Irlam’s compilations called “Ladies of Bingara”. The Conference Room at the Roxy was filled to capacity with an enthusiastic audience, many of whom had their own stories and personal profiles contained in the book.

Ladies of Bingara t Ron Irlam's book launch
Some of Ron’s ladies at the launch!


“Ladies of Bingara” is a snapshot of the contribution made to the Bingara community, and in a number of cases women everywhere, by hundreds of female heroines since the days of the early settlers. It spans a period of some 136 years, and uses the experiences of almost a hundred women to construct a collective account of just how instrumental they have been in establishing our modern rural society.

An ongoing theme for me was the manner in which the roles of women have evolved over all those years from the time in 1922 when Grace Munro MBE used her passion for the cause of women living in isolation to drive the formation of the CWA, to the present day where many of the key organizational positions in Bingara are held by women, this book supplies the narrative for their experiences.


A feature of this book is its illustrations. There are more than 150 photographs to support the stories of the scores of women who fill its pages. Many of them are the result of Jill Irlam’s photographic skills.


Ron has announced “Ladies of Bingara” as his final book. If this is so, it is sad but understandable when one considers the sheer workload associated with a work of this type.


Novels and works of fiction are easy – you don’t have the accountability for accuracy that you do when you are writing about actual people.


If this is indeed Ron’s swansong then it is a fitting time for us to celebrate his legacy of so much of our history that he has compiled and leaves for our enjoyment and recording.


This book is strongly recommended. Ron is spending this week signing copies in the Visitor Information Centre. Get yourself a copy – you will not be disappointed. (Contributed by John Wearne AM)