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Life of drama breeds resilience Liz Bell liz@mpnews.com.au IT'S been a life punctuated by parental and societal abandonment, cruelty and betrayal, near-death experiences and fragmented relationships, yet Mornington's Klaas Kalma's glass remains “half full”. Surprisingly, none of the obstacles have stopped the feisty survivor from living life to the full, and now, at 77, Kalma gives readers another glimpse into his fascinating life story in his second novel, Distant Echoes. Part auto-biographical, part fiction, the book follows on from his 2011 novel, Creeping Shadows, to tell more of the life story of Jobe, a likeable larrikin born in war-torn Holland at the start of WWII, who then faces the challenges of an unconventional upbringing with charming resilience and an endearing sense of hope. After experiencing abandonment by his cold-hearted parents who “dump” the young boy at a farm in Australia to work daily for no pay, Jobe struggles through the dramafilled years to young adulthood, where life is still harsh and he has to deal with the traumatic death of his young daughter and then of his first wife. With no family support and little to keep him on the straight and narrow, there were years that were lost to running with bikie gangs and colourful episodes of self discovery, but the young man

always manages to find solace in simple things such as pets, travelling around the country, and in the kindness of strangers. Fuelled by a burning desire to succeed, Jobe maintains a desperation to better himself and despite no formal education, completes a degree at university, becomes a teacher and psychologist, and is eventually able to compartmentalise his early life and be a positive role model to his children and to his students. Although fictional, Kalma says he drew heavily on his real-life experiences to write the novel, and has managed to infuse his own positive, optimistic attitude to life into Jobe. “I have experienced a lot of heartbreak and loss, but my glass is always half full and I think that's what has kept me going, and that's also what keeps Jobe going,” he said. Kalma said he hopes the novel will be inspirational to readers who might see that adversity is not insurmountable and can be met head on. “I always think that if you have the desire to succeed, even if you don't have the opportunities that some do, you can still make it.” Distant Echoes is available online and at Farrell's Bookshop, Mornington.

Pet fees due ANNUAL pet registration fees charged by Mornington Peninsula Shire are due by Monday 10 April. Cats and dogs over three months must be microchipped and registered with the shire. Cats three months of age and older, but less than 10 years, must also be de-sexed. The fine for failing to register a pet is $311 and in the 2015/16 financial year the shire issued 339 infringement notices. Income from registrations helps pay for offleash dog areas (mornpen.vic.gov.au/leashfree); the community animal shelter at Mornington (mornpen.vic.gov.au/lostpets); and producing information about responsible pet ownership (mornpen.vic.gov.au/pets). First time pet registration fees must be paid in person at any of the shire’s customer service centres as proof of de-sexing and microchipping will need to be viewed (mornpen.vic.gov.au/ ouroffices). Details: 1300 850 600 or 5950 1000.

Rabbit killer CSIRO scientists have confirmed the first recorded death of rabbits in Victoria from the Korean strain of calicivirus, known as RHDV1 K5. Two dead rabbits were found near a release site at Tanybryn, while one other was found near a release site at Kaniva in western Victoria. This result comes just two weeks after the national release of RHDV1 K5 by community groups and land managers at 150 sites across Victoria. The public is being encouraged to help track the spread of the virus by downloading the RabbitScan smartphone app. The app allows users to easily report evidence of disease to assist land managers across Australia understand the movement of the virus. Rabbits are regarded as being the most destructive agricultural pest animal in Australia, costing $200 million in lost agricultural production every year, with a further $6 million expended on rabbit control measures. For more information visit ava.com.au/rabbitcalicivirus or go.vic.gov.au/o7qyUb

Klaas Kalma provides insight into a “cruel” early life that he draws on for his second novel. Picture: Keith Platt

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28 March 2017

PAGE 7

28 March 2017  

Mornington News 28 March 2017

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