Postcards from Byron: Chris Flynn takes us to Phillip Island

In this week’s Postcards from Byron series, author Chris Flynn describes connections new and ancient to his new found home of Phillip Island.

Greetings from Phillip Island,

The Boonwurrung call this place Millowl. It’s beautiful and serene and full of wildlife. When we moved here 18 months ago, I was surprised to discover the nearby beach is not only always empty but is called Flynn’s Beach. Did some ancestors of mine once wash ashore here? I wonder if they sat in the same spot I do, walked the same sand. I wonder if they read the same dusty old books. Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, perhaps:

Wave after wave, each mightier than the last,
Till last, a ninth one, gathering half the deep
And full of voices, slowly rose and plunged
Roaring, and all the wave was in a flame:

It wouldn’t surprise me. The Flynn clan may have travelled the world, but they never change much. Always broke and ready to laugh about the absurdity of life. There are some famous distant cousins in Tasmania, I hear, but I’ve never visited.

Every time I come here, I think about stripping off and running into the surf, but I know it is dangerous. I swim elsewhere on the island, at the old abandoned granite quarry. Still, if I did dive in here, next stop would be Tassie. I wouldn’t make it past the heads, unless I hitched a ride on the back of a whale. They are here now, passing along the coast with their calves. They have been doing this for millennia. Nature endures. We must stop fighting her and accept that we, too, are voices on the waves.

About Chris Flynn

Chris Flynn is the author of MammothThe Glass Kingdom and A Tiger in Eden. He lives on Phillip Island. Mammoth is available to purchase here from The Book Room at Byron (free same-day delivery within the Byron Shire). Read more about Flynn here.

With thanks

These projects are supported by our friends at the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, who are generously funding participation fees for Australian authors, allowing us to re-imagine the 2020 Festival program. Please stay tuned for further news. Thanks also to our long-term funding partner, Create NSW.


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