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209 - A Story by Steven Rafter
So you think the Australian Working Holiday Maker is a relatively new concept?
In 1904, when Arthur Gordon McCrae departed Australia for Africa, he commenced an eight year journey that was full of adventure. He was an engineer, who worked at a mine in Africa, before moving on to Siberia in Russia. In April of 1912, he bordered RMS Titanic. His story has remained largely untold... until now with the launch of ‘209 A Story’ by Steven Rafter.
A dazzling and vibrant storyline, in a most suspenseful way, this novel follows the path of the young Australian as he matures into adulthood and ultimately reaches his destiny. The chapters of his journey are interspersed with the lives of three other Characters (Dabria Livingstone, Charlotte Rominscov, and Edward Parfett) and spanning a period of over one hundred and fifty years. How they are all connected is the true brilliance behind 209 A Story.
From the natural beauty of Sydney Harbour and the hash landscape of southern Africa to the Royal Courts of Europe, and modern day Manhattan, 209 A Story will delight you and sadden you; its moments are truly precious. As the reader falls into the novel, the desire to find out what is happening next increases dramatically.
Why is Arthur carrying a diplomatic package? Is the Countess Charlotte Rominscov who you think she is? Why is Dabria Livingstone being chased through the city of New York? And finally, what has all this to do with a soldier on reconnaissance in northern France during WWI?
Steven Rafter was born in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. He is the youngest of four children.
He attended the Toowoomba Grammar School (81-85) and the Twyford School, Winchester, England 1986. While a student at Toowoomba Grammar School, it was Steven who, it was reported in the newspapers of the time, as the one responsible for the visit to Toowoomba by The Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Kent. He met with them in London the following year when he spent his GAP year at the Twyford School in Winchester (feeder school to Winchester College).
Steven attended the University of New England and the University of Southern Queensland. He became a Primary School Teacher and worked for the Queensland Department of Education. His initial teaching post was in 1992 at Mt Isa Central School. The following year he was appointed Principal Performing Duties at Jundah Primary School in the Queensland outback. During this year, the school won the Apples for the Student Competition run by the supermarket chain Coles. The school students and staff were flown to Los Angeles to meet Aaron Spelling and the cast of Beverly Hills 90210. In 1994, he moved to live in Europe. He worked for HMS Education Personnel as a Recruitment Consultant of International Teachers to England. The following year he was appointed Manager (HMS Education Personnel) for the Northern England Region and lived in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
He returned to Australia to take up a posting as one of the Foundation Teaching Staff of Grammar Junior (Toowoomba Grammar School 1997)
In 1998, he left teaching to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. He moved to Melbourne where he initially lived in Toorak, and while writing various pieces and eight novels, worked in various contract and management roles for Optus, Foxtel and UCMS. He also worked in the role of Course Consultant for the Photography Studies College in 2001. He currently works full time on his writing.
209 A Story
Steven first became aware of the life of Arthur Gordon McCrae when he was in primary school. He was reading an article in a children’s encyclopaedia about RMS Titanic. The visiting teacher at the time said to him that his father had been to the same school as the only Australian who died on Titanic. This one comment planted a seed that was to follow him for the next two decades and also encourage his interest in the famous maritime disaster of 15th April, 1912.
In 2004, he originally planned to write a reference book about Arthur McCrae. He realised very soon in his research (and while standing outside the gates of Sydney Grammar School – where Arthur attended) that to write a reference book was to do injustice to the spirit of the man. The concept of 209 A Story was born.
During the four year period, Steven has attempted to follow Arthur’s journey and it culminated in a visit to the Fairview Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where he spent time writing and also laid flowers on the grave of Arthur McCrae.
The novel itself, 209 A Story is based on the life of Arthur Gordon McCrae. It follows his story from his final year at Sydney Grammar School, his life at the University of Sydney, his time spent working in Africa, his journey to take a up a position of Deputy Mine Manager in Siberia and then his boarding of RMS Titanic in Southampton. It also incorporates three other major characters, Countess Charlotte Rominscov, Edward Parfett and a modern day character, Dabria Livingstone. 209 A Story is an intriguing story that links the lives of four people over a period of one hundred and fifty years.
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