Cessnock Library hosts talks on Jim Comerford and sustainable homes

Jim Comerford
Jim Comerford

Historian Barbara Heaton will give a talk about her upcoming biography on local mining identity Jim Comerford at Cessnock Library on Thursday evening.

Titled Working Class Warrior, the biography of delves delves deep into the long and eventful, and sometimes controversial life of Mr Comerford, who passed away in 2006 aged 93.

A Rothbury Riot veteran, he was a long-time official in the Miners' Federation, and went on to become a mining historian, writing book reviews and stories of life on the coalfields over several decades for the Newcastle Herald.

"Some figures have a larger-than-life presence in a community and Jim Comerford was one of them," library services coordinator Rose-marie Walters said.

"Coal miner, Rothbury Riot veteran, union organiser who then became a mining historian, author of the definitive book on the 'northern lockout' and then for decades, a correspondent on industrial matters for the Newcastle Herald.

"We are thrilled that Barbara Heaton will be at the library to talk about her forthcoming biography of Jim. Her talk here at the library will give everyone a chance to hear the result of years of research and for locals who knew and remember Jim well to share their memories of him."

The book also describes the social history of the community and cultural life of the Northern coalfields which was unmatched in its heyday.

The author talk will be held in conjunction with the library's current exhibition about the Rothbury Riot, which concludes Friday.

Brian Woodward's mud-brick home

Brian Woodward's mud-brick home

In the meantime, Sustainable House Day is coming up this weekend and to celebrate, Cessnock Library will host a fascinating and informative talk with architect and academic Brian Woodward on Saturday from 10.30am to noon.

Brian Woodward specialises in sustainable building and energy systems. He is also the creator and builder of 'Earthways', a 330-acre property in the Wollombi Valley.

Brian and his wife Sally owner-built their two-storey mud-brick home and support environment almost exclusively themselves. They have also provided their own energy from Solar voltaic panels, water from a Solar water heater, and treated their waste with a composting toilet: all self- designed and built.

Ms Walters encourages anyone who is interested in making their house more sustainable to come along for Brian's talk and learn something new.

"Sustainability is one of the most popular speaking event topics at the library and we invite the community to come along and be both inspired and informed by Brian's talk," she said.

Both talks are free, with refreshments provided. Bookings are essential via the following links:

Bookings can also be made at libraries.cessnock.nsw.gov.au under 'Events and Bookings' or by calling the library on 4993 4399.