An Eye for a Story: optical nerve disease can’t stop South Perth resident’s hunt for great stories

An Eye for a Story: optical nerve disease can’t stop South Perth resident’s hunt for great stories

EVEN as an optical nerve disease affected his sight, Michael Zekulich could always find great stories.

The South Perth resident’s latest book An Eye for a Story covers his childhood growing up in the Swan Valley, where his family were pioneers, and his role as a journalist for 41 years with The West Australian.

“The first third of the book touches on growing up in the Swan Valley; my grandparents were among the first three Croatian families to settle there,” he said.

“My father Joe is an icon of the Swan Valley for his contribution to viticulture.

“Growing up in the valley meant that you had to help out in the vineyards because the family couldn’t pay for labour.

“I remember hand spraying, digging out weeds from near the vines and one of the more unusual tasks was called barking, where you had to scrape bark off the vines.”

In 1954 at the age of 25, the optic nerve disease meant that he only had peripheral vision but after meeting with psychologists specialising in the rehabilitation of people with disabilities or severe injuries, he was able to secure a role with The West Australian.

His childhood growing up in the Swan Valley proved advantageous as a journalist.

“It meant that when I was a journalist I was able to get leads because I knew people in the industry,” he said.

The book is available from the Millpoint Cafe and Mr Zekulich is available for signings for two Mondays at 11am from November 6.

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