Forty Hobsons Bay local identities, ranging from Australia’s first female prime minister to a young scientist trying to stop space junk collisions, have been interviewed for a book.

Julia Gillard and Brett Carter are the bookends to Altona & Surrounds: A Patchwork of Memories by Maureen Lane.

“Everything about Altona beguiled me,” Ms Gillard says in the book.

“The petrochemical complex others found daunting, I found intriguing.”

Lane, an Altona Laverton Historical Society member and historian, said she had approached a variety of people to document memories over many generations.

Greens Senator Janet Rice features in the book, but it’s not the story of a politician.

“It’s the story of a little girl growing up in Altona and it’s delightful,” Lane said.

Others include Imelda Hyde who went to Vietnam to adopt a baby while bombs were dropping and WWII nurse Ethel Muller who died this year aged 101.

Three Aboriginal women from Laverton tell their stories: Fay Van Ekeren, Janet Bakesi and Marlene Cameron.

There’s also well-known pharmacist Tom Sarros, builder Martin Van Noordenne, past historical society president Peter Weaver and even Lane and her husband David King.

“He tells the story of being a naughty biker in the ’60s, chasing girls,” Lane laughed.

Altona & Surrounds: A Patchwork of Memories is available at Altona Homestead, Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre or by emailing or for $20 plus postage.