Wednesday 1 March 2017
A fascinating local link to Australia’s first princess has been revealed in a book written by an author from the Bega Valley.
‘Maharani - The First Australian Princess’, is an epic historical novel by Tura Beach local, Chris Kunz, which tells the story of the author’s great-aunt, Sydney-born Elsie Caroline Thompson, who in 1909 became the first Australian to marry into a royal family.
Mr Kunz’s novel will be launched at Tura Marrang library on Saturday 11 March at 3pm, by Australian astrologer Milton Black.
The story charts Ms Thompson’s path from singer, dancer, actress and comedienne to her romance with an Indian Maharaja, Gopal Saran Narain Singh.
Programs and Partnerships Officer, Scott Baker said the book is a sweeping saga that travels from late 19th century Australia, through New Zealand, Southern Africa, India, Britain and beyond.
Though a novel, it contains snippets from old newspaper articles, as well as reports and private letters never before made public.
Mr Kunz said the story is all but unknown, and features a number of names familiar in the Bega Valley Shire.
“It’s been a labour of love for me to research and document her remarkable life in this novel – and most of it is true!” he said.
The book also solves a mystery associated with one of Australia’s most famous incidents, involving a 1937 plane crash in South East Queensland.
The author will be at the book launch to sign copies of the book and free refreshments will be available. Please park in the library’s lower carpark, as access is only via the Tura Marrang Library’s front door on Tura Beach Drive.
The book and ebook are also available from a range of book sellers.
Book online for the launch or phone Tura Marrang library on 6499 2340.
Photograph: Elsie Thompson, Maharani of Tikari and the first Australian princess at Hendon Aerodrome, London 1914. Photo courtesy of Royal Aero Club Trust UK.