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Shirley Fenton Huie

A Writer.




                  Shirley Wanda Nonie Huie was born on the 9th August 1924 at Peak Hill in Western New South Wales, to Dr. John Z. Huie, and Mrs. Frances Georgina Huie. She had her initial schooling at the local school, achieving good results that allowed her to go on to her high school at the Presbyterian Ladies College, Pymble in Sydney. Here she studied French and German and became fluent in both speech and writing. From here she matriculated to the University of Sydney where she commenced a degree course as an Almoner. World War ll had commenced so she joined the W.R.A.N.S. as a Wireless Telegraphist where her knowledge of two foreign languages was of great value. Here she made many life-long friends and at the end of the War, returned to private life.


After resuming her University life she met and married an ex R.A.A.F. man, Russell Whiston Kerr. They went to Engalnd in late 1948 to live and this union produced two children, Ceilidh Meribel, born 4th August 1949 and Thomas Finlay Whiston, born 6th December 1950. Russell eventually became an M.P. in the English Parliament, but the marriage did not last.

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Returning to Sydney in 1954 with her two children, she eventually settled in Watsons Bay in that city. Here she met Edward Fenton, an American helicopter pilot returned from the Korean War, and they set up house. Edward was at this time an advertising executive. However after much thought they decided to move to a farm on Russel Island in Queensland, where they lived for some time and one child,Gina was born on the 30th September 1958. After varying success at banana farming, Ed accepted a contract to fly for Helicopteros Aliados in Colmbia, South America.


ed.JPG (26563 bytes)Ed with Hereward

                 They later took the family to Honduras and Guatemala in Central America to work for the United Fruit Company spraying bananas, where their son Hereward Huie Atitlan Fenton was born in November 1962. Here Shirley refreshed her knowledge of Spanish, which allowed her to come to a good understanding of all levels of life in Central America and to engage in book translations etc.However the contracts finally ran out and they took the family to New Zealand where they lived at the town of Haumoana, in the Napier district of the north Island and in Auckland city.


This Photo was taken in Honduras.

                   Ed obtained a contract to fly in Indonesia, and so Shirley returned to Sydney where she opened The Rocks Gallery above her brother’s Wine Bar in North George St. It was here that the first exhibition of Aboriginal Art was held in 1970 to great acclaim. After this success Shirley took the two younger children to join Ed and they lived in Borneo at the town of Balikpapan and then Semarang in central Java where she set up a ‘permanent ‘ home.


Sadly Ed was killed while flying in 1979 and Shirley moved the family to Bali. Here, on her own she set up a thriving business, The Legian Pub, serving the growing tourist trade. She built a house in the Balinese style nearby and enjoyed both the business and the contact with people from all over the world. Here her bright and interesting personality made her many permanent friends and she learned much of Balinese art and experienced much of a very different and at times ,disturbing culture.


bali.JPG (40837 bytes)  Bali

In 1980 she returned to Australia to settle and help with the care of her aging but vital mother. Here she stayed for some years, moving to Queensland and then back to Sydney. On the death of this great lady, Shirley lived in Rose Bay, and it was here that she met Dennis Pile, a Marketing and PR Consultant and found that they were "a perfect match ". They both shared he widest of interests and the two bought a property near Berry on the south coast of NSW. After spending some years rebuilding the house while living in Sydney , they moved permanently into "Lothlorien" with Dennis deciding soon to retire. Here Shirley took up serious writing and produced a series of significant and successful books. "and the Second Prize Is.. "about her coach trip around Australia, the result of a competition at a travel convention ; "Tiger Lilies" about great women of the Pacific, "The Forgotten Ones" , the story of 70,000Dutch women in Indonesia as prisoners of the Japanese during the war, "Dancing with Unicorns" a love story, and "21 Days in Japan" seeking to understand the mysteries of that country. All of these went to 2nd editions and reprints  and are still available.


             It was at this time, on the cusp of Dennis’s retirement, that their house burned down, totally. These two brave people set to work and rebuilt a new house. With the finishing touches all but complete, cruel fate struck again. Dennis succumbed to a brain tumor in six weeks. This shattering blow affected the whole family. Shirley bravely fought on, though stricken with grief, got her life back together again and started up a Bed and Breakfast at the house. This also became, and is, very successful, and she returned to writing, producing a monumental book on the history of the W.R.A.N.S. in WW ll, which is about to be published [ 1999] . This lady has shown an incredible propensity for overcoming the terrible adversities that fate has thrown at her. A true descendant of the redoubtable Eliza Gordon Edgar. denis.JPG (11606 bytes)

Denis Pile  1994

On 4th September Shirley Fenton Huie launched her latest book "  Someone Else's Country" in the Lobby of The National Library, Canberra by the publishers Pandanus Books  Ltd. This was basically an autobiography of her world wide experiences, particularly in Indonesia. The book acheive wide publicity and acclaim and further details can be found on the internet  bu entering ' Shirley Fenton Huie '  or "pandanus Books ' 

Already published are :

1 ) And The Second Prize Is..'

2)    Tiger Lilies    

3) The Forgotten Ones

4)   21 Days in Japan

         5 )  Dancing With Unicorns

6 )   Ships Belles

                   7 )  Someone Else's Country


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145th October 1999.