Northern NSW café opens Thomas E King “travel book room”
When Sydney travel writer and ASTW Life Member Thomas (Tom) E King passed away last year after a distinguished 40-year career in the travel industry, he left behind more than 750 treasured travel books.
This week, they found a new home: in sunny Lennox Head on the NSW north coast, where a local café has opened a “travel book room” to share Tom’s books with the public, a fitting legacy for one of the most generous souls of the travel world.
The idea is a collaboration between the café and local travel writer and ASTW member Louise Southerden, with assistance from Tom’s longtime friend and Sydney travel writer Graham Simmons who packed the books into 14 boxes and shipped them to Lennox.
Co-owner of Williamsburg Café Lucy Williams was delighted to have the books there because they would be a great resource for locals and visitors.
“The room is a work in progress, but we’re hoping it becomes a hub for travel writing workshops, talks by visiting travel writers and other travel-related events,” Lucy said.
Tom was born in Moscow, Idaho, but moved to Australia in 1974 and became an ASTW member in 1979 (not long after the ASTW was founded in 1975). He travelled to more than 100 countries during his 40-year career in travel writing and wrote more than 2000 stories, which earned him the honour of life membership of the Australian Society of Travel Writers in 2014.
The 750 books are arranged by region and cover almost every country from Armenia to Zambia. There’s a big section on India (Tom’s favourite destination), quirky titles such as The Children’s Guide to London, books that show how much (and how little) the world has changed and dozens of beautiful coffee table books to browse through over coffee.
“With so many Northern Rivers locals having come from somewhere else, Lennox seems a fitting place for the books of a professional nomad and will hopefully spark new journeys of all kinds,” Louise said.
If ASTW members would like to host a travel-related event at the Williamsburg Café, run a workshop or offer locals a few travel writing tips, please contact Louise Southerden at email@example.com
Williamsburg Café’s travel book room, at 50 Pacific Parade, Lennox Head, is open every day from 7am to 2pm and until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays.