Jock Serong is a writer and teacher of law who lives in Port Fairy with his wife and four children. He is inspired by the ever-changing nature of the regions landscape and weather and drew on the towns rich maritime history for his first novel, Quota.
Jock is deeply connected to the water surrounding Port Fairy, where he surfs, dives, boats or swims along a coastline he calls raw, rough and truly special.
Whenever I surf in other parts of the world, I always secretly look forward to coming home to this water. Novelist, freelance writer and teacher of law Jock Serong is in the surf as often as possible. For him, it’s the perfect place for pondering. An untamed world of sensory experiences that wraps the village to the south and east. It’s both his home and his escape. The water is heavy and thick. It’s not beautiful and refined. It’s rough and raw a lot of the time, he says. Being underwater, you find black boulders and kelp and if you go deep enough you can hear crayfish clicking. We have amazing and wild elements here.
In this town, surfing is not focused on the pursuit of mastering mother nature conquering waves. Jock says it’s more about playing a beautiful guessing game with the sea and the weather, to figure out what the wind and waves are doing on any given day. It’s about long paddles of endurance and commitment to the ritual even in the coldest of conditions. And when you arrive out there, alone atop your board, it’s simply about being in the moment. Being present to soak up the ocean’s mood and force. To carve your own ocean adventure, take your pick of Port Fairy’s surf schools and tours on the water.
It doesn’t take long for visitors to notice the rich layers of history in Port Fairy. Jock Serong is a local novelist and freelance writer who is always inspired by the stories of Port Fairy’s past. You can talk to older folk in town about the fisheries that thrived here after World War II. Then you go back a little further when you read about colonial history. Then somewhere under that are the sealers and whalers who pretty much lived in anarchy in the 1830s. And then somewhere way beyond them is the indigenous history of this place, says Jock. He says there are remnants of each of those eras under your feet all the time.
Like along the river, you’ll find bottles in the mud from the 1800s. Or the architecture tells you about the Victorian era, Jock says. Every other phase of Port Fairy’s history is right there, visible in front of you. The town has depth. The more you look, the more it’s prepared to offer you.
Find out more about how you can wander back in time in Port Fairy.
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawuurung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Ancestors, past present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.