Media Releases

Media releases from the Office of Susan Templeman MP.

Enquiries from the media should be directed to the Media Adviser via the Electorate Office on (02) 4573 8222 or via email to [email protected]


October 15, 2020

The documentation of heritage items at Varuna Writers Centre is being made a little easier thanks to a grant secured by Federal Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman.


Built in 1939, Varuna was home to writers Eleanor Dark and Dr Eric Dark and was gifted to the Australian public by their son, Mick, in 1989 to be used as a retreat for writers.


“Archivist and librarian, Barbara Palmer, has been cataloguing the library at Varuna since 2008, valuing the collection of thousands of books for asset management,” Ms Templeman said.


“Anita Hoving and Barbara are now itemizing the heritage collection in the house, going room to room and adding furniture, fittings, paintings and other items to the database.


“They had been using an old computer system, so Varuna put forward an application for $1700 under the 2020 Volunteer Grants program to purchase a new laptop to speed up the process.


“I was delighted to be able to help them secure the funds to help document the treasures Varuna holds.


“Barbara told me of the unique characteristics of the heritage items, everything from all the beautiful Queensland Maple that Eleanor Dark loved so much to the burn marks in her desk from cigarettes.”


Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Varuna has been running online sessions for writers from around Australia. High profile writers leant their support to the sessions, with more than 30 people joining in each day. Writers able to drive to the centre have now returned.


“This year is the 30th anniversary of Varuna becoming a writers’ centre and, while COVID might change the way we celebrate, it’s still an important occasion to mark,” Ms Templeman said.


“Congratulations to the team who were able to creatively deal with the restrictions the pandemic placed on them, so writers across the country could still access this important centre.”