Butcher's son to release book

BOOK LAUNCH: Eric Kotz with a poster of the cover of his book, The Butcher's Son from Tumby Bay, which will be launched on the Australia Day long weekend.
BOOK LAUNCH: Eric Kotz with a poster of the cover of his book, The Butcher's Son from Tumby Bay, which will be launched on the Australia Day long weekend.

ERIC Kotz loves a good yarn and his story-telling skills have stimulated plenty of interest in his semi-regular pieces for the Port Lincoln Times over the past few years.

Now his stories on everything from shipwrecks to mine site life have been compiled for his first book, The Butcher's Son from Tumby Bay, due for release on the Australia Day long weekend.

After a lifetime spent travelling around Australia working and a stint living in Fiji before and during the military coup, Mr Kotz had returned to his home town of Tumby Bay and decided to put pen to paper to record some of the "extraordinary moments" in his "ordinary life".

"It's not an autobiography, it's a collection of stories seen through my eyes."

As a regular writer of letters of the editor, Mr Kotz first started putting his stories down on paper in 2009, when he wrote the story of the Vivid - a sailing ketch lost at sea somewhere between Tumby Bay and Port Lincoln - for the Port Lincoln Times.

This was so well received he decided to write a few more, most of which were published in the Times over the past five years.

Mr Kotz said the feedback from some of his articles in the Times had been absolutely amazing.

When one of his stories about the Bel-Air Drive-in Theatre was published, people were calling him up for four weeks with their own drive-in stories.

Another story about an Aboriginal woman known as Black Charlotte mentioned a waterhole that was the site of a fight between sealers and a group of Aboriginal men in the early 1800s.

He has so far heard from four property owners who believe Black Charlotte's Water Hole is on their property.

As a school student Mr Kotz always wanted to be a journalist but it was not to be.

"When you're the butcher's son in Tumby Bay you didn't go to uni.

"I've written a lot of letters to the editor over the years but I had to wait until I retired (to start writing stories)."

He describes his book as "faction" or what his grandfather would have called skites.

"They're all actually true stories.

"I get challenged all the time about the veracity of them but they're all true."

The book is divided into sections, with the first chapter telling his parents' story, "all about how all us baby boomers came about", and the last chapter being a tribute to the people who helped the Kotz family when they had to leave Fiji.

Another section of the book is devoted to local sea mysteries and shipwrecks.

Along with historic photos, the book also features a number of cartoons by local illustrator Daniel Swaffer.

Member for Flinders Peter Treloar will launch the book in Port Lincoln on the Minnipa Deck at the Axel Stenross Maritime Museum at 2pm on Saturday, January 24.

There will also be a launch in Tumby Bay by ABC Radio's Emma Pedler on Monday, January 26.

Illustrations, cartoons, maps, photos and other items of interest will be on display at the launch.

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