Christian Patteson Leads ‘Life in the ‘80s’ Trip Down Memory Lane

Christian Patteson prepared several nostalgic videos from the Rowe collection.

NOSTALGIA reigned as the Tea Gardens Family Research and Family History Group hosted local photographer Christian Patteson at the Tea Gardens Library for a special historical presentation on Saturday, 19 August.

Themed ‘Growing Up In the ‘80s in TGHN’, Christian Patteson, who first arrived in the area as a schoolkid in 1977, shared snippets of his own story, then led a virtual video-tour through the decade via painstakingly preserved recordings from the Michael Rowe collection.

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“Coupland Avenue was the edge of the world, and it was a much less complicated, carefree time,” Mr Patteson reminisced.

Horses and cattle were regular sights, the Singing Bridge was still new, kids could surf down Deadmans Dunes, and houses and a racetrack sat on the moors behind Tea Gardens school.

Only two TV channels and a blessed absence of internet and smartphones sounded like an impossible fiction for some today, but it was reality back in the 1980s.

“People could even boat out to the islands, which is illegal today,” Mr Patteson continued, detailing how his endless childhood explorations introduced him to every inch of Yacaaba headland (sometimes an island), despite a few hairy misadventures.

Nostalgia intensified with Michael Rowe’s assorted home-video collection giving the more than 40 onlookers a visceral visual reminder of how the Myall River had rich seagrass, the Hawks Nest shops had tiny gum trees, and the phone booths were “critical pieces of public infrastructure”.

Engrossing and informative, Mr Patteson granted some requests to once more lay eyes on long-lost locations, like the river’s drogher and ferry wrecks, or the once-loved Barrington House.

All the footage had been rescued from an ignoble fate at the tip by local vigilant historian Janis Winn.

After transferring as much as possible to digital MP4 format, Mr Patteson has delivered everything to the Family History and Local Research Group, indicating it desperately needs some further, ideally professional attention.

Those present roundly applauded Mr Patteson’s work, hopefully inspiring a drive to properly preserve other such relics.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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