August 29, 2019
Former Proston resident Merle Johnson stirred memories with her family memoir, ” ‘Leven Little Lonsdales”, during a special Proston Library event on Thursday morning.
Bookings for the author’s talk proved so popular the event was shifted to Proston Town Hall to cater for the 70 or so people who turned up.
Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff introduced Merle, who lives these days in North Queensland, to the crowd.
Merle is one of 11 children born to Doris and Ned Lonsdale.
The couple lived at Abbeywood from the 1950s through to 1983.
Her memoir celebrates the lives of her parents as they struggled to raise their family on a dairy farm.
Cr Duff said she could remember the family from when they built a worker’s cottage at ‘Di Di’.
Five of the Lonsdale children attended Proston State School and many began their working lives in Proston.
Merle, who was the third eldest, became a familiar voice to local residents when she worked as telephonist on the manual exchange.
Proston Library’s Julie Manning said Merle delivered some very amusing anecdotes regarding her parents and siblings during her talk.
She had also made cutouts of all the ‘leven little Lonsdales’ as a way to introduce each of her siblings.
“Merle also did a short book reading and took a question and answer session before presenting the Proston Public Library with a copy of her book, which was wonderful,” Julie said.
“She then did a book signing while everyone enjoyed a wonderful morning tea.
“It was like being part of a huge family reunion and we had people from as far away as the Gold Coast attend so she was very well supported.”