By Jed Lanyon
A Woori Yallock man has launched two books in his publishing debut and will soon be celebrating them with a book launch at Yarra Junction Library.
Bob Menzies is celebrating the upcoming release of Benito’s Gold, a story of treasure, pirates and murder. His other release, Wouldn’t Be Dead For Quids, is a series of personal poems and stories of how Mr Menzies overcame mental health struggles following service in the Vietnam War.
Mr Menzies details overcoming post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression and hopes that his book can provide insight for others following a similar path.
Mr Menzies explains the history of how he came to write Benito’s Gold.
“The idea came to me when I was 13 where I was going to school in Queenscliff, down on the bay. My brother found a 1622 gold coin on the beach,” he said.
“The story going around then, still going around now and has been for 150 years, is that Benito the pirate buried his treasure around Queenscliff somewhere and people have been searching for it ever since then.
“They can take away the facts that are written in the book and probably have a look for themselves… Hopefully they get out of it a good adventure story, a good murder mystery and a good treasure hunt.”
Mr Menzies said he even spent time looking for Benito’s gold.
“I’ve been out prospecting, I’ve done all that. I did it for two or three years with a mate of mine. Didn’t find anything. I found plenty of bullets, nails and horseshoes though.”
He even recalls one time experiencing a “terrific read” on a metal detector out near Logan, only to dig two feet to find a two cent coin.
“There’s gold to be found,” he said.
Mr Menzies described his novel as fiction based on fact, while Wouldn’t Be Dead For Quids follows a very different genre.
“Some years ago, I was a very successful businessman, I had my own company, all the trappings and everything.Then one day I just hit a brick wall and I don’t know why, I just lost it all and gave it all away virtually.”
Mr Menzies was entered into the psych ward of a hospital where he was diagnosed with PTSD and depression from serving in Vietnam.
“All those years I didn’t know it, but my workaholic attitude was putting off memories from Vietnam. And when I worked as hard as I could and did as much as I could, I hit the wall.
“While I was in Ward 17 I started writing poems about my experiences through life, so I wrote Wouldn’t Be Dead For Quids and that starts out as life before, during and after depression and it shows you that there’s a way out.
“I hope they takeaway that even though there are dark times in life and there are lighter moments leaving up to that, the dark times aren’t the end of it. There is a way out and if you sit down and talk to people and let people help you.
“If I could help one person who was suffering through this book, well I’ve done my job.”
Mr Menzies had completed both books some years ago and was recently encouraged to publish them by his wife, Heather. He will be reading excerpts from both books at Yarra Junction Library as part of Eastern Regional Libraries’ Reconnect Festival.
“I’m a bit nervous. I’ve never done anything like this before,” Mr Menzies said.
He’s already looking ahead to his next books and is sticking with the theme of mystery and treasure hunting. Benito’s Gold features the first chapter of his next novel White Gold.
“They’re all stories about gold in Australia that has gone missing… There’s heaps of them out there and people have just forgotten about them.”
For more information about Mr Menzies’ book launch, visit: https://bit.ly/3aNlj35