Michelle Freeman promoting her mother’s  book. “Stories from Noosa’s  Past â€
Michelle Freeman promoting her mother’s book. “Stories from Noosa’s Past â€" Hastings Street” by Emma Freeman.

Enjoy a flashback to stories from Noosa's past

RELAX, kick back and take a gentle slide back to Hasting Street, Noosa Heads, circa 1950-1970.

A revised edition of the late Emma Freeman's book: "Hastings Street, Stories from Noosa's Past,” will beam you back to a time and space, far removed from the modern trappings of luxury now part of this famous street.

The story written by Noosa local treasure, artist, activist and author the late Emma Freeman (1922- 2015) brings to life the people and daily events that came to shape the unique character of Noosa Biosphere.

The first edition of this book was launched in December 2003, at one of Emma's favourite places, the Noosa Regional Gallery. Emma's effervescent presence, reflected the book's warm, sparkling, conversational tone. But this free spirit walked the road less travelled and behind the scenes of sand, sun and surf, she recorded Noosa's rich history of conservation battles together with cultural and social benchmarks achieved during from the 1950s to 1970s.

The story of Emma's personal involvement in the Noosa community, her deep love for nature, her family and the creative life, commences with her arrival as a young Sydney nurse visiting Hastings St in the 1950s, meeting her husband Kevin and living in the street for another ten years and then moving to Noosa Hill.

Emma commenced the first book in 2001 and filled nearly every hour of the next two years, completing thousands of hours of interviews.

At the launch of the revised edition in December 2016, Emma's eldest daughter Michelle Freeman harked back to watching her mother write the first edition. "She hand wrote the first draft into 20 foolscap exercise books and often worked until midnight,” she said.

"Then she selected photos from Kevin Freeman's albums, they were photos taken from 1949 onwards and complemented her stories,”

The first book received a warm welcome and over a ten year period the first edition completely sold out. To Emma's great delight locals, tourists and bookstores asked for more.

Thus began the second edition, including extra stories from the 1970s, many new photos, an index of characters and a revised map of Hastings St.

Practicing their Song about deamalgamation are (L-R) Bron Norman, Karen Shlegeris, Emma Freeman (at piano) and Michelle Freeman.
Practicing their Song about deamalgamation are (L-R) Bron Norman, Karen Shlegeris, Emma Freeman (at piano) and Michelle Freeman. Geoff Potter

"The map now points to where the locals lived, for example before Netanya Resort was built, it was previously the site of Beachview Flats owned by Edgar John,” Michelle said.

In August 2015, Emma's diligence paid off and the revised edition was ready for the printers. As always, she was planning ahead.

"I've arranged six book launches,” the spritely 93-year-old told Michelle.

But, sadly it was not to be. A few days later, this gracious, talented lady suffered a major heart attack and nine days later passed away in Nambour Hospital.

"The book went on hold for a while,” Michelle said.

But halfway into 2016, a serendipitous event occurred that encouraged her family to go ahead with the book,

"Rod Williams, a philanthropist who loved Emma's first edition contacted me,” Michelle said.

"He said the book was too valuable to let it rest on the computer, so he offered to finance the printing costs.

"Our family was so thrilled.”

The second edition was launched on September 3, 2016 and is now available.

Books are available from: Mary Ryan's and Noosa Longboards at Noosa Heads; Written Dimension and Noosa Plaza News at Noosa Junction; The River Read and Noosa Village News, Noosaville; Noosa Regional Art Gallery, Tewantin; Annie's Books, Peregian. Cost: $30 each.


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