One day Patrician Brothers' College, Fairfield teacher Anthony Chidiac noticed a framed picture of Lake Pedder in the photocopy room he routinely used. The room was small and the walls were white but the picture brightened up the room.
"It seemed to light it up," he said.
"Each day I noticed it more and seemed to be transported to another time and place. I was captivated by the beauty of the lake with its pink sandy beach nesting amongst the mountains. It was calm, soothing image and had a mysterious, mystical quality. I was saddened that this lake was no longer there and I wanted to know more."
It led to him writing The Priceless Gift: The Lost Lake. The book, aimed at 10 to 15-year-old students, tells the story of how the lake in south-west Tasmania was flooded to make way for a hydro-electric scheme. The book commemorates the 50th anniversary of the flooding of the lake with the widow of Olegas Truchanas (a photographer who drowned whilst fighting to save the Franklin River) writing the epilogue to the book.
It is Mr Chidiac's second picture book after telling the tale of the Sydney Opera House in The Priceless Gift-Utzon's Symphony.
"I was fascinated with the spectacular beauty of Tasmania. I had travelled there with my wife when first married and it was a wild untamed area that had a magical quality about it. It was a place that was undiscovered, isolated and had a raw pristine beauty," he said.
"When I was a student there was a campaign to stop the building of a Dam on The Gordon Franklin River in the early 1980s which captured the imagination of the country. The campaign was successful after Bob Hawke intervened to stop the building of the dam. It became a turning point in Australian environmental history. I did some more research and uncovered that Lake Pedder in South West Tasmania was the forerunner of the campaign to save the Gordon Franklin but it failed.
"The story is about beauty...we need to preserve it and look after it for future generations. Even though it is about loss there is a sense of hope that something can be done to bring this beautiful landscape back to life."
I did some more research and uncovered that Lake Pedder in South West Tasmania was the forerunner of the campaign to save the Gordon Franklin but it failed.Anthony Chidiac
Mr Chidiac has teamed up with illustrator Michael Arvithis for the book which took him three years to bring to life. He is also working on a couple of fictional stories which he hopes to publish.
"One is about a Lost Town that loses its spirit, soul and beauty as the leader of the community becomes suddenly ill and gradually passes away," he said.
- The Priceless Gift: The Lost Lake is available to purchase on Amazon