Story time – putting life into history

How are you going with your buying local to save jobs and working together for success?

Today I thought I’d share something that has been on my mind for several years and made more important in the last couple of years since I’ve moved to Collie. Preserving history through sharing photographs and memories.

As a child living on a small town farm in Rhodesia, now called Zimbabwe, mum would bring out the photo album and share the photos with stories to help bring brown (sepia) photographs to life. Dad would occasionally bring out his small 8mm movie reels, projectors and share some of his experiences of racing cars or sailing little tin boats on dams.

He would add stories to the silent films of Ford’s 50th Golden anniversary in the Rhodesia rally, or pushing the Bentley Lagonda he’d turned into a racing car. The stories would add life to an otherwise meaningless two-dimensional photograph or silent film.

Just before coming out to Australia in 1981, I spent a week camping on the banks of the Zambezi fishing for Tiger Fish and camping among free roaming elephants, buffalo, lions, hyenas and jackals. Many stories flowed out from that week but a photo showing an elephant or two on the banks of the Zambezi would not convey the same impact on my life.

The digital camera has enabled us to take hundreds, no thousands, of photos and videos which sit in tablets, mobile phones or computer disk drives and many never see the light of day. Some of these make their way to the social media and try and convey the message or story with a short explanation.

There are a number of people that I have had the honour and pleasure of meeting in Collie who have wonderful stories to tell about Collie.

From the early coal mines and timber mills to shops, businesses and life in a caravan park, there is so much more I’d like to hear about before those memories pass away with age and end up gone unheard forever.

For many years the only way to pass on the memory was through story time. I’m sure the original people of this land would pass on the story of life from generation to generation before the days of writing and painting, just like our ancestors did.

Will this be all we’ll be left with in the future or can we revive the art and opportunity of storytelling? We all have wonderful stories to tell. Don’t you?