The Red Cedar - Red Gold Trilogy: By Ian Ridgway
Ian's Profile continued from Home Page
The storylines of my books are all based on truth - although some of the bushmen's tales have perhaps been stretched over the years. The information is all factually correct and historically accurate and unlike many popular books of today, offers a totally authentic record of the last days of the cedar-getting era up to the mid 1940s.
The characters playing the parts are all based upon real people who lived in the times and shared with me vivid memories before their own life journeys took them to other places. In that way, I see these books as an important contribution to a little remembered yet significant part of our history. Still, the trilogy is not a stodgy, musty series of history books but a lively, colourful yarn with the many and varied characters telling the story of red cedar in their own words and through their own actions.
Writing was not something I had ever planned to undertake however, as with many aspects of our lives, fate steps in and makes the decision despite our own initial protestations. For me, illness was the deciding factor and as I slowly watched my comfortable and ordered life crumble into dust and blow away with the wind, it was writing that filled the void as I felt absolutely driven to untangle the mass of information and stories accumulated over the previous forty five years.
Words flowed like water from a tap, with storylines, plots and dialogue tumbling out and embedding themselves onto the hard drive of the computer in a steady rush for nearly three years as if it truly was "meant to be". When I had finished the manuscript of book three, I had moved to another place - a better place - with a welcome improvement in my health and a different view of life. In many ways the writing of these books had given me a "second chance" and opened the doors to an entire new world.
Today, I continue to write stories, lecture on red cedar and the part it played in our history, occasionally operate a steam-powered sawmill and drive a steam train at a local heritage park and search the mountain gullies and spurs for the last of the forest giants that have had such a great influence on my life. Every time I find a majestic red cedar I cannot help but smile as I remember the impassioned words of my grandfather; that there is only one timber and that is red cedar - the king of all trees.