By Jillian Durance
Prologue: The Promise
In the summer of 1997, we went looking for a home in South Gippsland. We were a couple, not so young, but newly together. The late February afternoon was breathless with heat. The hills rolled away in every direction, their shoulders taut and dried under the sun.
The car pulled up in the dense shade of an enormous pine tree. Its bark was ravined and craggy, like the wrinkled skin of an ancient giant, its trunk the width of three or four people holding hands to encircle it.
At the green wrought iron gate, half open, we caught a glimpse of the old homestead: the outline of a gabled roof, a brick chimney lined with tufts of grass, a window under the deep brow of the return verandah, weatherboards bare of paint. It carried an air of weary charm that cast its spell and slowly reeled us in. We walked through the welcome cool of a rambling garden.
Jillian Durance was highly commended in the 2020 Bass Coast Prize for Non-Fiction for Nothing We Liked Better: a house remembered, a home restored, six excerpts from a longer memoir.