Our Region: Irene follows her dreams

In 2012, at the age of 82, Lake Boga grandmother Irene Drummond fulfilled her lifelong ambition of publishing a book.

Since then, the now 86-year-old has published a total of five books — three for children and two for adults — proving that you're never too old to follow your dreams.

Lake Boga author Irene Drummond published her first book at the age of 82. Picture: JADE BATE

Lake Boga author Irene Drummond published her first book at the age of 82. Picture: JADE BATE

Irene was born in Swan Hill in 1931 and met local boy Murray Drummond at the age of 16.

Four years later, the couple married and went on to have five children, calling the Swan Hill region home for most of their lives.

They settled on a farm at Lake Boga, where Irene still resides.

It was only in 1982, after her children had grown up and moved out of home, that Irene decided pick up a pen and begin to write.

"That just came out of the blue," Irene said.

"After my five children were grown, the time just opened up for me and I had a chance to do something for myself.

"I had always wanted to write a book so I sat down and starting writing."

Irene's writings were something she did in private, and although she had dreams being a published author, never considered it a possibility.

"My writing had always been a very personal thing, something I had done just for my own enjoyment," she said.

"I never took it seriously, and nor did anyone else."

But all that changed in 2012 when Irene, while recovering from chronic fatigue, was staying with her daughter Marilyn in Melbourne.

Marilyn prompted her mother to start thinking seriously about her writing with the hope of getting the work published.

"Having been a member of the Victorian Writers Club for many years, I took up the latest issue of their magazine and read an article by Sydney Smith on how to get published," she said.

"What I learnt from Sydney, about the art of writing, gave me the confidence to take the next step of finding a publisher, which I also did through the Victorian Writers Club magazine."

Irene's first novel, War at Our Door was published in 2012, which she followed up with its sequel Romancing the Outback in 2014.

"The inspiration for those novels came mostly from my own life experiences living through World War II with all its heartache and devastation," she said.

Her first children's book, Monty's Adventure, was also published in 2014.

"My four grandchildren were the ones who inspired me to write my children's books," she said.

"They come up to visit us during the school holidays and explore their fantasy worlds out by the lake."

Irene Drummond's published books: War at Our Door, Romancing the Outback, Monty's Adventure and The Flying Kangaroo

Irene Drummond's published books: War at Our Door, Romancing the Outback, Monty's Adventure and The Flying Kangaroo

Irene's latest contribution to the writing world are two children's books about a magical, flying kangaroo called, aptly, The Flying Kangaroo Book One and Book Two.

"He's a mystical character who overcomes obstacles to fly and goes against the expectations placed upon him," she said.

"There is also an environmental message to it about protecting our natural world.

"It's about saving the environment and I hope it inspires children to be determined."

In the first book, the reader is introduced to the kangaroo as he learns to fly, while the second book follows a little girl who helps him save a valley from flooding.

Irene is currently in the process of writing a book about her own life story. She is also writing another fiction book called The Goat Lady, which is a multi-generational saga focusing on women.

"I've got stories banked up; when I think of something new, I will jot down the idea," she said.

With no signs of slowing down, Irene wants to encourage others to pursue their passions late in life.

"If other older people are wanting to write or follow a lifelong dream, then go for it," she said.

"You're never too old to follow your dreams.

"But I have to say, that if it wasn't for my darling family, Debbie, Carol, Ralph, Marilyn and Graeme, and their invaluable help, support and encouragement, my scribblings would never have seen the light of day.

"They would still be buried in an old, disused deep freeze down in the garage on the farm."

Irene's books can be purchased from the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery or at the Murrabit Market.

Alternatively, you can contact Irene's daughter Marilyn on 0468 348 484 if you're interested in purchasing a copy.

To read more Our Region stories about amazing people in the Swan Hill area, pick up a copy of Wednesday's Guardian ​each week.

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