Passion put into print

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Jane Muir’s passion for local history has culminated in her writing a book about the history of businesses in Manjimup.
Camera IconJane Muir’s passion for local history has culminated in her writing a book about the history of businesses in Manjimup. Credit: Tari Jeffers

Manjimup history and the business industry have come together thanks to the passion of local author Jane Muir.

Next week, Jane will launch her new book From Just a Hole in the Forest at a function at the Manjimup Wellness and Respite Centre and is encouraging interested people to come along.

The book is a record of every business in the Manjimup region across almost 110 years, from 1910 to 2018.

“I wasn’t planning on writing any more books because it does take a lot out of you,” she said.

“But it’s like detective work and I love that.

“This is a subject I love, I absolutely love history.”

The inspiration for From Just a Hole in the Forest came from a friend, who Jane said was voracious about knowing more about Manjimup’s business history.

Jane said her friend’s curiosity, along with her knowledge that many people like to reminisce about the way things used to be and the changes that happened over the years, had inspired her to put pen to paper.

In researching her book, Jane used a variety of sources, including Trove, Google and the archives at the Manjimup-Bridgetown Times.

“I sent out flyers to all the businesses I could,” Jane said.

“When I couldn’t get answers, that’s when I’d come to the newspaper.”

Jane spent weeks at the Manjimup-Bridgetown Times sifting through old newspapers to look at the advertisements in the the archived editions.

“The ads in the papers really helped,” she said.

“One of the challenges though, was that Manjimup didn’t have street numbers until 1955.

“People just knew where everything was in those days.”

As a result of the lack of street numbers and addresses, Jane said she was aware there were some inaccuracies in the book.

“I’ll be the first to say it’s not going to be perfect in everyone’s eyes, including mine,” she said.

“You can find out things afterwards that, had you known, it would likely have made a difference.”

From Just a Hole in the Forest has 414 pages of information about Manjimup businesses over the years.

The are also more than 400 photographs and 17 pages of location maps with associated information.

Information in the book includes the fact the first business in the 1910-gazetted town of Manjimup was the general store, the Manjimup Trading Company.

“This was up and running at the end of 1910 and very quickly, within a manner of months, there was a tailor, a boarding house, a hotel, a bank and a school,” Jane said.

Other businesses that followed soon after included a butcher, newsagents, drapers, boot makers, coach makers and blacksmiths.

One advertisement from Fred Thompson said “try us before you say it is unprocurable”.

It was said that Fred had everything – he just had to find it.

The book is ordered alphabetically with the businesses’ names and Jane said she included an index at the back in case people had trouble locating a business.

“For example, if you know you’re looking for a butcher but can’t remember the name, use the index,” Jane said.

From Just a Hole in the Forest will be launched between 2-4pm on November 30 at the Wellness Centre’s conference room.

There will be a limited run of 1000 copies, which Jane said would be available in Manjimup.

“I started this in July, 2016, and I’ve worked on it regularly since then,” she said.

“I am so relieved and happy.” that it will be out there for people to enjoy.”

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