Dianne Wolfer’s 2009 book Lighthouse Girl won the West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award for Picture Books. Lighthouse Girl tells the poignant story of Fay Howe, who was the daughter of the lighthouse keeper at Breaksea Island, near Albany in Western Australia, during World War I. In late 1914 a fleet of 36 troop ships left Albany bound for Egypt and Gallipoli. Fifteen-year-old Fay communicated with many of the men using semaphore flags or Morse code. The sight of Fay Howe waving to them from the island became a symbol of hope for the departing soldiers.
Dianne Wolfer was interviewed in Light Hearted episode 96 in January 2021. The original interview extended over two episodes. Also interviewed at that time was Fay Howe’s son, Don Watson, along with his wife Peg and their daughter Denise Rafferty. The interviews with Dianne Wolfer and Don Watson have been edited into a new 30-minute segment in this episode.
Also in this episode is a conversation with Mike Vogel, president of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, and Jeff Gales, executive director of the Society. The discussion touches on the core missions of the Society, but is mostly about the domestic and international tours the Society offers each year. For more about the United States Lighthouse Society and its tours, check out uslhs.org.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org