Tributes flow for Leura author Julian Leatherdale

Leura author Julian Leatherdale died from cancer last week.

The 59 year old had been treated for inoperable liver cancer for a year, and had undergone experimental medical treatment in Perth recently, thanks to more than $23,000 raised by the community for the costly treatment.

Julian's wife of 35 years, writer Claire Corbett said, "Julian and I were overwhelmed by the love and support shown to Julian by our friends in the Mountains. Their generosity and that of all the people who'd known and been affected by Julian's warmth throughout his life was so touching, especially as they often shared memories of his kindness to them."

The author was well known in the Mountains for his novels - the historical murder mystery Death in the Ladies' Goddess Club, released in March, and also Palace of Tears(2015)and The Opal Dragonfly (2018).

Not only was Julian passionate about the written word and history, he had a great love of theatre.

He studied history at university, and on graduation, wrote lyrics for four comedy cabarets and a two-act musical. In 2017, he wrote the short play A Life in Ten Meals for the theatre project Breaking Bread. Claire said Julian was especially happy to return to his first love, theatre, and that they had met, fittingly, through his cabarets and their shared love of writing.

Julian discovered a passion for popular history as a staff writer, researcher and photo editor for Time-Life's Australians At War series. He later researched and co-wrote two Film Australia-ABC documentaries Return to Sandakan and The Forgotten Force.

Tributes soon flowed on Facebook for the father of two.

"He was a great writer, a lovely person and we will miss his smiling face. He was such a loved member of our Mountains community and the loss of him will be felt by many," Megalong Books owner Jodie Dalglish wrote.

Blackheath History Forum mourned the man who had presented at one of their forums last year.

"Julian was not only a talented writer but one of those beautiful, kind, smart people who made the world a better place by being in it. We will all miss him tremendously," they wrote.

His publisher Annette Barlow said: "Allen & Unwin is fortunate to have been Julian's home for his three historical novels for adults and, as his publisher at A&U, I was very much looking forward to a long association with Julian and his writing. His research was impeccable and his imagination creative and clever. He was a complete delight to work with in all aspects of publishing, and was warm and witty company at any time."

Julian had also been working on his first novel for young adults, The Phantasmic Detective Agency, which is to be released by Eagle Books in May.

"Julian was the kindest, funniest and most beautiful husband and father imaginable," Claire said. "We will miss him forever; he will always be in our hearts."

A private funeral will be held for the author on Friday, May 1.


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