Docklands’ girl features in print
30 Mar 2017
By Sunny Liu
It could be the first ever children’s book published about Docklands.
Tamara D’Mello thinks Docklands is so unique that she decided to write a book about it. Docklands Girl, published in March, draws a lively picture of the vibrant city suburb from the perspective of Ms D’Mello’s daughter Aria.
Ms D’Mello moved to Docklands with husband and daughter in 2012. Aria, now five years old, is a “native Docklander”.
Ms D’Mello is from Bombay, India, and her husband is an Australian who grew up in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. She said the book showcased the multiculturalism of Docklands through Aria’s mixed cultural background.
“Aria is the inspiration of the book. It’s about her everyday life in Docklands with some elements of the Indian and Australian cultures,” Ms D’Mello said.
“The book is about diversity and it also touches on immigration. Many of the Docklands residents are from different parts of the world and it can be very relevant to them,” she said.
According to Docklands Girl, Aria is a “footy-loving, dosa-eating, veggie-picking, firework-watching Docklands girl”.
The book contains narratives from Aria’s point of view and the illustrations of some of Docklands’ most iconic landmarks, including Cow Up A Tree, Victoria Harbour, Etihad Stadium and eaglehawk Bunjil.
“Docklands is very unique. I don’t think there’s any other suburb like it. Docklands is very inspiring,” Ms D’Mello said.
She said she wrote Docklands Girl both to document Aria’s childhood and to advocate the liveability of Docklands.
According to Ms D’Mello, the book is composed with some “cross-country effort”.
“The designer of the book is based in Melbourne and the illustrator is from India, who has never been to Australia,” she said. “So it took us a few tries to get it right but it has turned out very well.”
The book is not only about Aria’s story, but Ms D’Mello and her husband’s stories as well. It depicts Ms D’Mello’s life in India and her previous job as a journalist at an Indian tabloid and her husband’s love for footy and meat pies.
Ms D’Mello said Aria loved going to India to see her grandparents and but she much preferred living in Docklands. She also likes eating traditional Indian pancake dosa as much as she likes eating Weetbix and Vegemite toast.
“Aria is more Australian than anything else. I would like to expose her more to the traditional Indian culture,” Ms D’Mello said.
She also hopes there will be more publications about Docklands.
“There’s so much going on in Docklands all the time and there can be so many stories written about it. I’m glad I could contribute to Docklands by writing the book,” she said.
Docklands Girl can be purchased from Amazon and can also be found at Library at The Dock.
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