Gough Whitlam was one of Australia's most visionary and polarising political leaders, but for author Christine Sykes, his era of government would change the course of her life.
MidCoast Libraries welcomes Christine to tell the story of her amazing career and making the most of opportunities that came her way.
At 6pm on Wednesday May 19, Christine will Zoom in with the MidCoast Libraries team to talk about her latest book, 'Gough and Me: My journey from Cabramatta to China and beyond'.
Christine was a volunteer at Dress for Success Sydney for over four years. She served as a Senior Public Servant for 30 years.
Now retired, she enjoys life's simple pleasures and is regularly involved in tap dancing, acting, painting and playing the flute.
Born to working class parents and living in a fibro house built by her truck-driver father, eight-year-old Christine simply dreams that one day she might work as a private secretary like her aunt. But in 1957, Gough Whitlam moved into Christine's street in Cabramatta and set her life on a course she could never have imagined
When the reforms Whitlam fought for give Christine the chance to go to university, her world expands.
She experiences the transformative power of education, the struggles of balancing motherhood and being the family breadwinner and faces her own mental health battles.
She follows a path forged by Whitlam, from scholarships he fought for, to local community initiatives he generated and even as far as China where Whitlam crucially initiated Australia's relationship when he visited the country in 1973.
Written with genuine heart and humour, 'Gough and Me' is a nostalgic and deeply personal memoir of social mobility, cultural diversity and the unprecedented opportunities that the Whitlam era gave one Australian working-class woman.
"Christine has lead such an interesting and inspiring life and we're delighted that she can share her story with our MidCoast community, in her own words," said MidCoast Council's Manager of Libraries and Community Services, Chris Jones.
"What an amazing time in our country's history and she is a perfect example of someone who made the most of the new opportunities available."
Christine now lives with her partner on the south coast of Sydney and will join the MidCoast audience via Zoom.
Bookings are essential, to secure your place head to www.midcoast.com.au/events