And Be Home Before Dark – a book review

Some of you may recall this excellent publication some years back, and some of you may have a copy, or have read it. Published in 2008, Im sure that you will agree with me that is is a wonderful recollection of a childhood spent ‘on the edge of nowhere’.

The book has sold 25,000 copies – which makes it a best seller and it was short listed for the Victorian Premier’s book award.  The author, Roland Rocchiccioli, who is also an Outback Family History reader,grew up in Gwalia between 1949 – 1963, with his mother Beria and his father Ginger.

And Be Home Before Dark by Roland Rocchiccioli

And Be Home Before Dark by Roland Rocchiccioli

In his own words:-

“It was a migrant town, where 80 percent of the workers were from Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia and beyond. There were 28 nationalities working on the mine. They brought their food and traditions with them, making music in the desert and cooking dishes like pink and grey galahs with polenta.”

“The sort of childhood that I had never really leaves you, it was so rich in what it presented. It stays with you forever,” Roland says.

The Gwalia township was home to the families who worked at the Son of Gwalia gold mine between 1897 and 1963. After the mine closed, the Gwalia’s population disappeared almost overnight. The mine has since reopened, but is now a modern open pit operation with workers who live in the town of Leonora.

When Roland left, he went first to boarding school in Perth, then on to a career in the theatre in Melbourne. Over 40 years later, he’s returned to the inspiration of his roots, writing a book about his childhood and a one-man show telling the stories of the women of Gwalia, including his mother.

Roland Rocchiccioli

Roland Rocchiccioli

“These women were very important. They pioneered a whole part of this extraordinary country. I’m passionate about the saving of stories so that we remember what went before.”

This is a confronting, revealing and frequently hilarious memoir and recounts the author’s formative years in the tough goldfields town of Gwalia, bringing to life his cantankerous mother, Beria, her husband, Ginger, and Slavic lover, Steve, along with an unforgettable cast of rogues and renegades.”An evocative memoir of growing up in the North-eastern Goldfields of Western Australia”

From ‘This Day Tonight 2008″  -

Copies are still available direct from the author @ $20 + post,
contact Roland for full details at –

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My name is Moya Sharp, I live in Kalgoorlie Western Australia and have worked most of my adult life in the history/museum industry. I have been passionate about history for as long as I can remember and in particular the history of my adopted home the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia. Through my website I am committed to providing as many records and photographs free to any one who is interested in the family and local history of the region.

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