I drew on the Kiama landscape in the creation of the fictional coastal town of Keimera which features in both In and Out of Step and Life Song. That fictional landscape also draws on the NSW towns of Camden, Goulburn, and Bungendore. My maternal family have also lived in Kiama for over thirty four years.
Keimera’s main street, harbour, marina, and the southern headland are strongly reminiscent of Kiama as is some of the hinterland. I think of Kiama as the gem location on the Sapphire Coast.
Keimera is a coastal town where local fairs and shows are attended on long days out with families and neighbours. Friends who have stood the test of time share histories and secrets and there is always the sizzle of possible relationships to imagine. The long march of the youth of rural townships drawn to bigger cities has begun. That migration shift is two way though. Keimera’s close-knit community with its thriving life attracts city people in search of a seachange or a treechange.
Keimera is a town where the Council Lifeguards and volunteer surf lifesavers play an important role in keeping the coastal community and visitors to its beaches safe. Their commitment and passion parallels and contrasts with the passion that drives characters in ‘Life Song’ to discover what gives their life genuine meaning. Two important secondary characters in ‘Life Song’ are members of the surf lifesaving movement. Gary and Kate’s experiences are a fictional depiction of some aspects of life when serving the community as a Lifeguard or Lifesaver.
Keimera is also a community where the Country Women's Association (CWA) plays an important role in providing support to women and their families. The CWA is also committed to serving the community. Minna Madison, family matriarch and President of Keimera's local CWA works passionately in upholding traditional values. Madison House represents the former pastoral glory of the region. Madison House was built in 1858. It occupies Pipers Point which is the peninsula north of Keimera.
Philanthropic activities such as the Surf Lifesaving Movement and the CWA represent the finer aspects of the Australian psyche. As a people, we believe in helping others, giving others a fair go, and a fair day's work for a fair day's pay.
©Christine M Knight