In 1999 I relished the opportunity to interview and write about a selection of West Australians aged from 35 to 99, for a book titled CENTURY, published by Fremantle Arts Centre Press in late 1999.

I was given a free hand to choose interviewees from a range of backgrounds. Politics, the arts, sport and the law were among the areas it was important to cover.

The two oldest people interviewed, both bachelors in their late 90s, died just before publication. It was therefore a matter of some pride to have caught their life’s journey just in time. In the 13 years since the book’s completion several other subjects have died, including Sir Charles Court and Shirley De La Hunty.

Robert Juniper: artist,
singer, sculptor . . .
and the very best
of company
For the household names in Century, I found less well-known aspects of their lives to highlight. Writing about Bob Juniper, for example, I put his acting, not his painting, centre stage.

“At my first teaching post at Perth College,” he told me, “it soon became clear that I would be roped in for the duty that every school art master faces – painting the backdrops for the school play.”

Another participant in my project, Shirley De La Hunty (née Strickland), first won fame as an athlete in the 1948 Olympic Games in London. I made sure to give strong mention to the environmental awareness and activism that occupied her later years.