Deborah Abela hosted an event for the local Mackay Maltese Community at 5:15pm on 13 July.
She had recently published a book called Teresa: A New Australian that was inspired by her dad who was born in a cave in Malta during one of the heaviest bombing raids of WW2. Teresa is the name of her nanna, who travelled to Australia after the war with 6 young kids, including Deb’s dad, not knowing what they would find.
Her father's story resonates with the experiences of many of the local Maltese community's experiences.
"A very special moment for me was during the Maltese community event when I met a woman who came to Australia on the same migrant ship as my father. She and her family had never seen a photo of the ship and we were all moved to tears when I showed them."
"It was a real privilege to meet Deborah Abela and listen to her talk about writing "Teresa."
"Not only did we listen to Deborah, she learnt from the audience. We explained to her that much of Mackay's Maltese population came here between the world wars, compared to the larger populations in Sydney and Melbourne who came after WW2. We told her that the third most common name in the Mackay phone book is Vella, a Maltese name."