Driven to tell doomed WA town’s stories

A New Zealand debut author has written a novel about the devastating events at Wittenoom to help raise awareness about the town and pay tribute to her father who passed away from an asbestos related disease.

Kara Douglas, pictured, spent 10 years crafting The Air that we Breathe, a historical fiction exploring asbestos mining at Wittenoom — one of Australia’s worst industrial disasters.

The story weaves between following an Italian couple who move from Italy to Wittenoom in 1961 to work in an asbestos mine.

Ms Douglas wrote the book in memory of her father who passed away from mesothelioma.

“My father passed away when he was 53 and Wittenoom wouldn’t leave me alone. The more I researched and the more I looked and found out, I thought gosh how can this be?” she said.

“My whole reasoning for the book I guess was in memory of my father but also mainly to increase awareness of asbestos for people reading it and hopefully save lives. They might read my book and think otherwise if they come across asbestos.”

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