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Byron Shire
March 5, 2024

Travel inspiration in Lennox Head

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Travel writers Louise Southerden and Graham Simmons with Lucy Williams, owner of Williams Street Kitchen & Bar, Lennox Head, in the travel book room. Photo supplied.
Travel writers Louise Southerden and Graham Simmons with Lucy Williams, owner of Williams Street Kitchen & Bar, Lennox Head, in the travel book room. Photo supplied.

Inspiring wanderlust is the dream behind the Tom King Memorial Travel Book Room that recently opened in Lennox Head eatery Williams Street Kitchen & Bar. Hundreds of books cherished by a distinguished Sydney travel writer, the late Tom E King, will grace the shelves of a popular Northern NSW café.

When he passed away in 2015 after a long battle with cancer, Tom’s wife Kay worked with Lennox-based travel writer Louise Southerden to find a new home for his treasured collection. ‘It seems fitting that the Northern Rivers, a region where many locals come from somewhere else, would house this impressive array of travel books collected by this passionate nomad,’ Louise says.

Born in the U.S state of Idaho, Tom was bitten with the travel bug after an eight-month journey to Australia to 1974, then aged 27. He went the long way round, travelling overland from Europe through the Middle East and India, then by ship and train down the Malay Peninsula to Perth before driving across the Nullarbor to Sydney. From then on he was a professional nomad, travelling far and wide while still calling Australia home.

While most travellers now plan their trips online, physical books can still inspire that wanderlust, Louise says. ‘There’s nothing like sitting down with a coffee and taking a break from technology to flick through the pages of a travel book and who knows, it might just spark your next big adventure.’

Tom penned more than 2000 travel stories, explored more than 100 countries during his 40-year career and wrote some of the first modern travel guides, earning a life membership of the Australian Society of Travel Writers in 2014.

With around 750 books from about 60 countries, from Armenia to Zambia, available for anyone to browse in the travel book room, or take into the cafe. This is a great chance to relax and inspire your next journey at the Tom King Memorial Travel Book Room at 50 Pacific Parade, Lennox Head. Williams Street Kitchen & Bar is open 7 days a week from 6.30am to 2pm. Check out the website here

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  1. A fabulous initiative and a great tribute to a fabulous bloke! Congrats to Lucy and Louise. Travellers in the area – do investigate!


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