Omeo, Omeo, not wherefore but where art thou Omeo?

I live in Metung, East Gippsland which in the eastern part of the state of Victoria in Australia.  Omeo is in Victoria and in terms of distance in Australia it is quite near to Metung.

Metung to OmeoOmeo is situated on the Great Alpine Road and my reason for mentioning Omeo is that I have just finished reading a book that was set in the area around Omeo.

Great Alpine RoadThe book I purchased for $1 at a thrift shop and it was a dollar well spent as I thoroughly enjoyed the book.


I have to admit that the cover is not the most enticing I have seen but nonetheless I was intrigued to read about this death that had “shocked Australia”.

From the cover:

When Ethel Griggs dies suddenly in the Victorian country town of Omeo in January 1928, rumours about her husband’s blatant affair with Lottie, the lovely 20-year-old daughter of the local grazier and Methodist elder, Jack Condon, are rife.  So rife that despite a doctor’s certificate suggesting natural causes, police order Ethel Griggs body to be exhumed and the young mother of 11-month-old baby Alwyn is found to have died from Arsenic poisoning.

Her husband, the Reverend Ron Griggs, the district’s methodist minister, is charged with her cruel and heartless murder.  Based on a true story, Reg Egan has recreated. in his first novel, the town and its people, the atmosphere and the love affair that intrigued and shocked the whole of Australia.

The story was certainly intriguing and I enjoyed the fact that I could visualise the various places mentioned in the story.  Even Traralgon station got a mention along with Bruthen, Ensay, Swifts Creek, Cassilis and numerous other small places in the district. The major towns also played a part with Sale and Bairnsdale enjoying centre stage at some point.

An enlightening read particularly for those interested in the local district and the history of the district.

Here and here you can read newspaper reports on the murder.

This one will go on my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge as it was set in 1928.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. It’s nice to read about places you know in novels. It struck me the other day that an awful lot of books will fit into your historical fiction challenge, but do you have a time beyond which writing doesn’t count as historical? I’m wondering if something set in the 1960s, for example, would count.

    1. suth2 says:

      A good question Lorna. I’m not sure of the answer. Perhaps as long as it is not set in the present day it would then be history.

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